The first time I heard about hostels is from a horror movie where backpackers were killed horribly by some crazy people and bad things happened. I haven’t actually watched the movie yet because I also heard that it was pretty bad. Anyway, because of that movie, hostels for non-travelers is just another way to die (someone must have had a terrible hostel experience to be able to come up with that). Seriously though, they really have a bad reputation for being dodgy and not safe (without the over the top gangsters and torturers… but I can not always be so sure). But don’t worry, hostels aren’t like that in real life, dude.
Hostels are a great choice for saving money on accommodation because they are cheap and you can easily meet people and make friends. There’s a lot of great hostels around the world that offer great service at fantastic prices and the facilities are really good.
Some of your unforgettable experiences would be coming from your stay in these hostels but there would always be one or two that you’ll just want to forget. So far I have nine and here they are:
1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – July 2008
This hostel was in a pretty good location, near to shopping centers and a lot of restaurants. They had a free breakfast of toasts and coffee but I still didn’t think the price was reasonable as the rooms were pretty basic, the beds were uncomfortable and they looked like they were going to fall apart at anytime (fans could easily blow them apart and that’s probably why there was only one in the room). I stayed in a hostel room with a couple of friends and one of them had a lot of bed bug bites. I didn’t have much idea about bed bugs at the time so I didn’t realize how terrible it was until I got a taste of them myself. My arm was bitten so many times it itched non-stop. It was still bearable but I definitely didn’t like it.
2. Bangkok, Thailand – August 2008
On an alley, just off Khao San Road, is a small hostel that offers shared accommodation for a very cheap price. It was only 150 baht for an A/C dorm and I thought that it was a great find. I was satisfied when I saw the rooms and the shared bathrooms were not so bad. The A/C weren’t turned on until night time so it’s not a great place to hang at during the day. I was dead drunk on the first night I slept and then I was feasted by bed bugs. No one else in the room had bites so I thought it must have just been my bed. I moved to another one and were bitten again the night after. It wasn’t very smart, I know. I would even wake up occasionally picking a bed bug off my skin and throwing it away as far as I can. Ugh, it was so disgusting. I had bites all over my arms and legs that I couldn’t even bear to look at myself. I moved to another hostel on the other end of Bangkok to be sure I am not followed by these mean little creatures.
3. Vientiane, Laos – May 2009
The first place we found in Vientiane was pretty cheap so we stayed without looking somewhere else. We stayed in a 4 bed dorm, it was very basic and not so dodgy. The longer I stayed the more I realized that it wasn’t a proper hostel. The owner either had a big family or they were renting the other rooms to locals as well. I slept in the same bed with my boyfriend as it was big enough and guess what! I had hundreds and hundreds of bed bug bites and he had none. NONE! It was by far the worst experience of bed bugs I’ve had and it itched for days non-stop. Even when we moved to a much nicer place, my bites wouldn’t let me sleep and having a hot shower would make it itch even more and I just couldn’t help but scratch and scratch and scraaatch. I had to get some cream but it took us forever to find a pharmacy. I didn’t get a proper cream but it got me through somehow.
4. Singapore, Singapore – July 2008
Singapore is expensive but paying so much for a hostel room that’s crammed with beds is just ridiculous. It smelled so bad and there wasn’t any good ventilation. And again, it smelled so bad it’s like having a couple of feet up your nose. They have put as much bed as they could without ever thinking of their guests. My travel buddy wanted to stay somewhere else but he asked me to keep his bag. I asked the receptionist if my friend could help me carry the bags upstairs but she said no. I begged and begged and still no. Fine then, I will not ever stay there again.
5. Krakow, Poland – May 2008
The hostel itself was nice and it wasn’t their fault that my sleep was terrible. It was a 10-bed dorm that I have shared with all men. Eight of them were on a stag do, they were Irish and they were drunk. At 4 am they came back from their bachelor party and decided to tear the room apart. Throwing their shoes everywhere and not shutting up, not giving consideration to me and my boyfriend who they could see were obviously sleeping. I eventually got back to sleep and woke up with the room feeling extremely humid and one of the guys just wouldn’t stop farting.
6. Stockholm, Sweden – December 2007
I got in late to my hostel and the reception was already closed. I was left with my beddings and keys and went into a big empty dorm room. I was feeling pretty happy to have a room to myself. 2-3 hours into my sleep, a big group of German speaking people came and they made sure they were as noisy as any annoying group of people could be. They saw me, of course, but they didn’t care, thank you very much! The staff closes the reception early and they didn’t stay in the hostel over night which really sucked as no one could help me shut my roommates up. They were the same the second night and I really needed my rest as I had to leave early the next morning. I was annoyed and angry so when I was leaving, I made sure I was packing as loudly as I could, banging the door every time I went out for the toilet and shower and just before I finally left, I turned on the lights and banged the door really loud. I could’ve been more hardcore but they’re lucky I didn’t need to stay for another night.
7. London, England – November 2008
I chose the cheapest hostel I could find in London and it was way out of the city center, it might as well be in another city or country. When I finally found the hostel according to the address I found online, I was shocked as I stumbled on to a bar with live rock bands instead. The lady at the door asked for £5 entry fee but I told her I was looking for the hostel. She couldn’t hear me because she kept on asking for money. I went out and looked around and right at the back of the bar is the entrance to my hostel. I checked in and got into my room which was pretty OK other than the fact that the bar is right on the lower floor. I could only hear two things, the live band playing as much metal songs ever made in the universe and a lady shouting for £5. I didn’t sleep until the bar closed and it was very very late.
8. London, England – November 2008
Right in the heart of London, on Picadilly, is a big hostel where we stayed in for a couple of nights. Well, nearly a couple. We actually liked it, especially it’s location, until our very last night when we were kicked out because of a crazy ass drunk girl. Me and my boyfriend were woken up by an angry intoxicated woman because we apparently stole her bed. Of course we didn’t, that was already our second night! She started hitting my boyfriend and while he was trying to shield himself, the girl lost her balance (surprise) and fell off the bed. She had a friend who was a bit nice (and less psychotic) who was trying to calm her down but she wasn’t listening. She went off to grab a hostel staff and accused us of stealing her wallet. Two police came and then she started crying. Unfortunately, we were the ones who were kicked out in the middle of a freezing November night.
9. Sydney, Australia – October 2009
Sex in the hostels happen, we just have to accept that. People hook up, they get drunk and there’s a lot of couples who stay in hostel for months. It’s something that you will have to get used to and ignore. And if not, then don’t stay in hostels and get yourself a private room. But then again sometimes it can be a little bit too much. Or way way too much! Sharing a room with two guys who have each brought a girl to have sex with in broad daylight, on a bed a feet away from you even knowing that you were aware of what’s happening is just disrespectful. That’s just so wrong!
These experiences as I have noticed are a few years old. I may have probably learned from these experiences and now know which hostels to avoid. But I also know that sometime in the future, I may experience even worse because I’ll never really know who I’m going to share my hostel room with.
I obviously only have two to look out for: bed bugs and drunk backpackers. And I do admit, for a couple of times, I may have been someone else’s worst hostel experience.
And I’m sorry. It’s not me, it’s the tequila!
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