Having spent the last six weeks traveling around Thailand and Malaysia, I have learned a few things about finding clean, comfortable, and affordable accommodation Sometimes it hasn’t been the easiest lesson to learn so I feel it is my duty to help you learn the ‘less hard’ way.
First Things First…
Whatever you do, don’t book a hotel or hostel in advance. Shocking, I know… you will have always been told to be organized and plan ahead, but in my experience, it is really not a good idea in this case.
My husband and I arrived in Bangkok safe in the knowledge that we had somewhere to stay for the night… or so we thought! The hostel we booked online looked really clean, artistic, and trendy but in reality, it was the complete opposite: filthy, insecure, and with literally no bathroom facilities. Not a good start to cry like a baby and wish you were back at home on the first night of a four-month-long trip.
Needless to say, we left immediately after seeing the bathroom and ended up spending £60 for a night in a high-end hotel when our daily hotel budget was around £10. We felt a little out of our depth but strived to learn from our mistakes.
My advice is to attempt to arrive at your destination as early as possible, or at least before midafternoon, to allow yourself enough time to scope out suitable accommodation and compare cleanliness, comfort, and price.
Everything Is Negotiable…
…Especially in Asia; the longer you choose to stay somewhere the more negotiating power you have.
Whilst we were in Ao Nang, Thailand, we found a lovely little hotel which suited all our needs but was a little out of our price range. We had previously decided we wanted to spend two weeks there so we asked the hotel owner what their best price was if we stayed there for two weeks and we got a 100THB discount per night, and it was truly worth it!
On the whole, whatever price is given to you is usually slightly inflated. Try a counteroffer or let them know what your budget can allow, and you’ll usually get a discount. A cheeky wink and a bit of charm go a long way too.
Do your research!
I have certainly come to learn that researching hotel hotspots is very beneficial. For example, Khao San Road in Bangkok and Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur are the best places to go if you’re looking for a selection of backpacker retreats to choose from.
Also, look at some reviews on Trip Advisor before you go, so you know which hotels to scope out first and which ones to avoid stepping in altogether.
There are some amazing hostels and hotels in this part of the world, with the friendliest people offering excellent travel advice and occasionally a half-decent cuppa! It just knows how to find them that is the challenge.