Best hostels in South East Asia
Hostels have long been the preferred accommodation for budget travellers & backpackers around the world. Whether you're travelling with friends, as part of a couple, or solo, hostels are the epic centre of all things travel, and I can’t imagine travelling long term without at least bunking up in a hostel for a day or two every week. When I travelled for a year solo, I stayed in hostels all over the world, and had such a different experience dependent on the country I was travelling in. These budget traveller havens range in price, size and vibe – but get a good hostel and the rest is just a breeze. Good hostels attract good people, and they cater for so many different needs, depending on what you're looking for. There is so much choice, which is where I come in, to help you whittle it down to the ones that I've had a GREAT time in, and met some travel friends for life.
Every year, thousands of travellers descend on the hostels of Southeast Asia, the most popular backpacker & budget traveller trail, and many have received the reputation for being the best of the best, and setting the standard for the rest of the world. So, if you're planning a budget holiday or long term trip to Southeast Asia, look up these places in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia & Vietnam. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Malaysia is a budget traveller staple in Southeast Asia, and visitors have been raving about the amazing adventures they have there. If you are in Kuala Lumpur, you can’t go wrong with the BackHome Hostel. This modern hostel offers a great environment for intrepid travellers at a reasonable price. The hostel’s facilities are top class with great WiFi and a movie room to enjoy if you want to stay in and chill for a night, rather than hit the nightlife of KL.
The Explorers Guesthouse and Hostel is another popular destination in Kuala Lumpur. Located near the Central Market and Chinatown, this hostel is for travellers looking for fun, but want to leave the party outside. Quiet, clean and comfortable, the Explorers Guesthouse is a favourite to many who have visited the city.
Reggae Reggae Mansion in KL and Penang island is such a fun hostel and a great place to meet people. It is a really sociable hostel, and the dorm rooms are made up of little pods, with your own curtain and mirror. An added bonus for a little bit of privacy whilst on the road. There is a rooftop bar, so things can get quite lively at Reggae Reggae Mansion, and the party is often taken out onto the streets of both KL and Penang.
Another great hostel in Penang is Dream Catchers Traveller Refuge. Clean, cozy and away from the noise, this hostel is a great place to stay if you like your peace and quiet while travelling, but at the same time want to meet some truly great people.
Other top Malaysian hostels:
· Jalan-Jalan Emas (located in Melaka)
· Zackry Guesthouse (located in Langkawi)
· De’Native Guesthouse (located in Cameron Highlands)
Unfortunately, Singapore does have the reputation of being a bit expensive. Which is all the more reason to stay at a hostel when visiting the city. The Tree In lodge has a perfect location for visitors that want to traverse the entire city. The hostel has a green philosophy and anyone that has a similar mind set will love staying there.
Cool, contemporary and a fun place to spend your holiday in Singapore, the River City Inn is perfect for any trendy traveller. The hostel is near the Clarke Quay MRT station which gets you around Singapore in no time. The laidback hostel is perfect and having a few drinks in the bar after a day of sightseeing will be a welcome activity not to mention a perfect way to get to know other travellers, and form connections with them.
Other top Singapore hostels:
· Adler Hostel (a brilliant place to stay, but quite pricey)
· Wink Hostel (cool place, but another high-end Singapore hostel)
· Lotus Hostel (near cheap food courts and public transport links)
· Shophouse The Social (Basic hostel, but nice rooftop & good location)
There are lots of hostels in Indonesia as the country is a budget traveller favourite. Many travellers head to Bali when they arrive in Indonesia and despite the island being a popular travel spot, a good hostel for not a lot of money can be found.
The Pondok Permata Homestay is a home away from home for those that visit it. This quiet hostel has plenty of space for travellers to stretch out. It also has some stunningly gorgeous rooms to rent.
Staying on Bali, the In Da Lodge is located in Ubud and offers visitors a very relaxed atmosphere. Spend your day lounging on bench chairs in the comfort of other travellers making their way through Indonesia. It also has plenty of cheap food and drink for visitors.
Most travellers begin their Indonesia adventure in Jakarta, and the city has plenty of outstanding places to stay. One of the best is Six Degrees. Located near restaurants and supermarkets, Six Degrees is perfect for travellers looking to make some new friends. The beer is always cold and there is plenty of food to sample. Clean, comfortable and very modern, Six Degrees is a real standout hostel.
Gili Castle on Gili Trawangan is a fantastic hostel and one that is really the heart and soul of the island. Travellers that aren’t even staying here, tend to venture over for pre drinks and drinking games before there night out. Small dorm rooms, but a great vibe and atmosphere. So easy to meet people, and I believe they now have private rooms and a pool. I will be back to experience that!
It’s worth noting that Bali in particular is formed of homestays and hostels. Homestays tend to be more affordable, especially if you’re in a couple, and are still a great place to meet people as its nearly always travellers occupying the other rooms. Some homestays will even have a communal, outside seating area, or small kitchen, which is another place to congregate and meet other travellers.
Other top Indonesia hostels:
· Pop! Hotel Denpasar Teuku Umar (located in Denpasar)
· Gili Klapa(located in Gili Trawangan)
· Café Locca Homestay (located in Sanur)
Bangkok is a favourite budget traveller getaway, and many go to Thailand solely to experience the city. The Good Day Hostel offers a great stay when visiting the city. Located around everything you would need – food, drink and shopping – the Good Day Hostel is a great place to spend a holiday.
Another great hostel in Bangkok, close to all the shopping malls, & great transport links is 3Howw Hostel @ Sukhumvit 21. Great spacious privacy pods in the dorm, excellent way to meet travellers, movie room all air con’d & fantastic location.
If you’re still in Bangkok, head over to the Bed Station Hostel. This ultra-modern hostel is the perfect place to lay your head at night. Great staff, WiFi and privacy, you’ll love this hostel the next time you’re in Bangkok.
Chiang Mai’s Coincidence Hub is a beautiful venue to spend your evenings. Beautifully decorated, the Coincidence Hub provides a very classy atmosphere for budget travellers.
Chiang Rai’s Mercy Hostel is very affordably priced and its location in downtown Chiang Rai means you can get to everything very quickly. Pool tables, food and drink make the Mercy Hostel a great place to stay when in the north of Thailand.
Other top Thailand hostels:
· Baan Suay Backpackers Hostel (located in Phuket)
· Chill Inn Beach Café (Located in Koh Samui)
· Stones Bar Dorm Rooms (Located in Koh Phi Phi)
· Centrepoint Hostel (Located in Koh Phi Phi – basic but cheap)
Hanoi is a popular destination in Vietnam and the Hanoi Backpackers Hostel isn’t just a great night’s sleep, but it’s cheap too. You can get free transfer to and from the airport at this hostel and the staff give a walking tour of the city every morning. There is also a location downtown which gets you closer to the great nightlife of the city.
The Hanoi Garden Queen Hotel is pricey and doesn’t necessarily fall into the cheap budget traveller’s hostel book. In fact, this is more of a boutique hotel than a hostel. It’s Hanoi hipster to the extreme and offers a great atmosphere to travellers. If you’ve got the cash, give it a go, but if you are pinching your pennies try one of the other great Hanoi hostel hotspots, such as Hanoi Backpackers (there’s two to choose from).
In Hue, the Hue Backpackers Hostel is the best place to lay your head at night. This great hostel provides great beer and music to keep guests entertained. There is also a fun quiz night that keeps everyone in good spirits.
Hoi An Backpackers Hostel located in Hoi An is perfect for those looking for easy access to the beach. The historic city of Hoi An is easy to reach and you will be visiting the ancient sites in no time. Add in the beautiful An Bang Beach, and this is a dream hostel that will never steer you wrong.
Other top Vietnam hostels:
· Beach Bar Hostel (located in Hue)
· VIP Garden Homestay (located in Hoi An)
· Backpacker Village Hostel (located in Mui Ne)