As a budget backpacker, finding the right accommodation is key for a great travel experience. Thankfully, Southeast Asia has some really affordable and comfortable guesthouses up its sleeve. For your convenience, I compiled a list of my personal Top 5 Guesthouses and Hostels in Southeast Asia.
80s Guesthouse, Penang, Malaysia
Common Area: 9/10
Once a vintage shophouse, the 80’s Guesthouse is now one of Southeast Asia’s most stylish budget accommodations. And there are so many things to love about it: a well-designed interior with contemporary furniture, rain showers, fast WiFi, free coffee and lovely staff available around the clock. I can also say that they have the most comfortable bunk beds I have ever slept in…and that is priceless after 3 months on the road. Located right in the center of George Town.
Penang’s best sights and nightlife spots are just a stone’s throw away. During the day, make sure to visit the town’s beautiful street art installations and in the evening head to Red Garden Food Paradise for delicious treats and some quirky show acts.
Samon Village, Kampot, Cambodia
Common Area: 10/10
A perfect location doesn’t necessarily mean the city center when it comes to hostels in Southeast Asia. Although Samon Village is 2km out of town, the place couldn’t be any better. Here you can rent a stilted bungalow or an elevated tree house to experience something different and unique. Surrounded by lush vegetation and palm trees, the village has a cozy feel, and being located right on the riverfront, makes for some brilliant sunset views.
I spent most of my time on the huge, covered river deck, reading in one of the comfy lounge chairs or chatting with the friendly staff. ‘To get into town, you have two options’, told me the boy at the reception. ‘I call you a tuktuk or our boat taxi can drop you of at the main promenade!’ Of course I went for the boat, and for dinner time I enjoyed a 1$ private sunset cruise.
Glur Hostel, Ao Nang, Thailand
Common Area: 10/10
Glur was my first hostel in Southeast Asia and raised the bar right from the beginning: a pool for 10$ a night…WOW! There’s nothing better than an opportunity to cool down after a long day of sightseeing; especially at 35C+. Glur also provided the largest common area I’ve seen in three months. Feeling lazy? Just hang out in a hammock, read one of the provided novels or enjoy some fresh fruit and complimentary water in the kitchen area. Although it takes a 10 minute walk down to the beach, the location is nothing short of spectacular: just step out of the door and gape in awe at the massive limestone karst out front.
Aquarius Inn, Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake), Myanmar
Common Area: 8/10
‘Home away from home’ is the slogan here, and let me tell you…these people take it seriously! With the cozy communal garden, the typical Burmese hospitality and a family atmosphere, Aquarius Inn is the most popular accommodation option for a relaxed visit of Inle Lake. Highlight of your stay, however, is the daily breakfast menu, which I proudly announce as best complimentary breakfast in Asia. I was lucky enough to taste three of their famous theme sets: French, Spanish and Italian breakfast. Fancy some frittata? You’ll get as much as you want…and then a big platter of fresh fruit. Enjoy!
Suk 11, Bangkok, Thailand
Common Area: 6/10
Suk11 is just different. Get ready for a sensory overload from the moment you step into the quirky lobby. There is ‘stuff’ everywhere…on the floor, on the walls, on the ceiling. Interior decoration is taken to a new level at this place: ‘More is not enough’. On your way op the staircase, you’ll find thousands of little inscriptions on the walls: ‘I don’t want to come back, I want to stay’ or ‘A love letter to Suk11: …’. The narrow corridors leading to your room are poorly lit and add to the spooky atmosphere. An alternative place for the modern flashpacker… Also read my recent post: Best nightlife activities in Bangkok
Let me know about your favorite places in the comment section below!