Why We Miss Hostels

by Poi on January 13, 2011

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It’s been a while now since we stayed in a hostel and I can honestly say I miss them.  Whilst staying in Chiang Mai we’ve been living in a large hotel/apartment block and although it’s what we wanted we’ve both been missing the atmosphere of hostels.

During our six weeks in China we stayed in hostels the whole time other than one terrible night in Xiamen. In fact we stayed in some great hostels, particularly in Guilin, Hangzhou and Xiamen.  However crossing the border into Vietnam it seemed that guest houses were much more abundant and often cheaper than their hostel competitors.

YHA Flowers Hostel Guilin China

YHA Logo

Why do I miss them? Sure some aren’t the cleanest and some even have smelly squat toilets! But they are far more accommodating for backpackers, after all we’re their main target audience. A great example of this is the Guilin YHA hostel, one of the common room walls is covered in transport information for just about anywhere you could possibly want to go.  It includes bus and train timetables as well as special instructions for public holidays and any issue’s you might bump into, isn’t that the sort of information we all spend far too long researching?

Continuing to use this hostel as an example it has a TV room complete with hundreds of dvd’s left behind by previous guests, computer access, plenty of sofa’s, a free pool table, cheap food available, helpful notice boards, book exchange, cheap beer in the fridge and very helpful friendly staff. I can definitely say we’ve stayed in many hotels that have had none of the above. This type of environment also brings all of the guests together, dorm rooms and decent hostel common rooms being by far the easiest place to meet people.

We leave Chiang Mai on the 10th February and I’m looking forward to getting on the move again and hanging out in some funky common rooms with a cold beer chatting to some other backpackers… so who’s coming to Laos and Cambodia?


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica January 13, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I think a hostel experience definitely depends on the country you’re in. When we were in Japan, the hostels we came across are very different than most stories people tell about them.

One hostel we stayed at was a renovated old shrine complete with a zen garden. Everyone was so chill and very quiet. 😛
Erica´s last blog post ..Confronting Fears Abroad


Kirsty January 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

That sounds soo nice! Some of the places we have stayed at have been like that too… then others like Hanoi backpackers have been party central!


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Adventurous Kate January 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I hear you wholeheartedly. Before this trip, I thought that I would prefer having a solo room in guesthouses. But I just LOVE hostels, even sharing a room!

Since you’re going to Cambodia, let me tell you the name of my absolute favorite hostel on the trip so far — Monkey Republic in Sihanoukville. Go for the dorm if you can. GREAT place to stay.
Adventurous Kate´s last blog post ..Sihanoukville- The Ultimate Backpacker Party Paradise


Kirsty January 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I read about that in your post… it sounds cool (apart from getting woken up at 7am!!) we’ll def stay there!


Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World January 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I can totally see the draws of staying in hostel. Never really thought about it because we always stay in one, but I guess you never appreciate what it has to offer until you don’t have it anymore.
Have fun in Laos and Cambodia!!
Jill – Jack and Jill Travel The World´s last blog post ..Planning A RTW Trip — A Recap


Kirsty January 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Totally true, we can’t wait to get on the road again and start exploring 🙂


Andi January 14, 2011 at 5:24 am

I really should stay at a hostel on my Bucket List! I think everyone needs to do it at least once in their life. 🙂
Andi´s last blog post ..Happy New Year!!!


Poi January 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm

More than once, they can be a lot of fun!


Annie January 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I miss hostels too! I need to get on the roooaddd… 🙂

Sounds like the place you stayed in Guilin was great, I hope you find some that compare in Cambodia and Laos!
Annie´s last blog post ..Hostels- Love-Hate Relationship


Poi January 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I hope so too, we’ve had a few good ones suggested to us so that shouldn’t be a problem!


flip January 14, 2011 at 9:15 pm

love staying in hostels too 🙂 lot of people where you could get info on your next destination, maybe share a ride with some of ’em etc…
flip´s last blog post ..Smart Planning for Long Term Travelling- Money Matters


Poi January 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Exactly, a bunch of people all looking for the same thing.


Akila January 15, 2011 at 12:43 am

We love staying in hostels because of all the information and help that we get at them. We’re going to be staying in apartments in Europe and it’s going to be a very different experience. There’s an awesome one in Cambodia called Prohm Roth Guesthouse in Siem Reap that was one of our favorites. Big clean rooms, super nice owner, free WiFi, within one block of the main restaurants/bars, and on a quiet street.


Poi January 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Sounds good thanks for the tip, we’ll check it out!

I’m sure having an apartment to yourself will be fun as well 🙂


Suzy January 16, 2011 at 12:46 am

I usually like to stay in apartments when I travel, but there are benefits to hostels I might consider for my upcoming trip to Ireland. It seems like it is important to get the right hostel for the right type of person, otherwise it could be a disaster.
Suzy´s last blog post ..Paestum- Italy Wishes You Were Here


Poi January 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm

It could be but most hostels are at least okay, as long as you check out reviews before hand it’s usually okay.


Globetrottergirls January 16, 2011 at 4:31 am

We agree – hostels can be pretty awesome places, especially when they have a lounge area, hammocks, cheap drinks, a kitchen, tons of information and nice people to hang out with. Unfortunately we weren’t always lucky with our hostel choices but still, we wouldn’t want to miss the experience. Sometimes an apartment is a nice change though – having our own toilet, a clean kitchen, and some peace and quiet occasionally 😉
Globetrottergirls´s last blog post ..Polaroid of the week- Climbing for coconuts on Little Corn Island


Poi January 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm

There is definately benefits to both and it’s nice to have a change. We’ve been in private for too long now, ready to get back to the party!


Dean January 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Nice blog, were heading to chiang mai tomorrow and then into laos and cambodia, enjoy the trip and let us know of anything we need to do in chiang mai.


Poi January 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Thanks very much – There is loads fo stuff to do in Chiang Mai, where to start! All depends how much time you have here??


Audrey May 16, 2011 at 1:25 am

I love staying in hostels! Like you said, they really do cater to the backpacker, sometimes a lot better than a hotel or guesthouse can. I find that I can show up at a hostel without a travel plan, and the other travellers and staff will point me in the right direction. That’s how I usually end up discovering the city’s gems!


Poi May 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Defiantly this is what we love about hostels…. we hate planning so anyone that can point is in the right direction is wonderful 🙂


Jessica Festa March 12, 2012 at 8:20 am

Hostels rock! 🙂 I made the mistake of staying in guesthouses in Asia and found it kind of difficult to meet other travelers.

PS- Guilin was one of my favorite cities in China!


Kelly Lewis November 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Hostels are pretty great, but the older I get, the less I want to share a dorm room with 8 smelly travelers. Is that weird? Haha.


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