Throughout our travels we used a pretty low budget and that went doubly for hostels and accommodation. However, just because you take the cheaper option, doesn’t mean your home for the night can’t be great! We found many cute, chill, and extremely fun places to stay throughout our trip, and we’ve compiled a list of our favourites below.
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- Coconut Beach was one of our best finds, and is not your typical Koh Rong accommodation. When we arrived at Koh Rong by boat we waited at the docks for a long boat ride to the isolated Coconut Beach on the west side of the island. The original beach we arrived at was party central and fairly crowded, but Coconut Beach was the exact opposite. The beach was only accessible by hostel guests, so about a 700 meter stretch of pure white sand for 10 of us. Bungalows were available but we opted for the $15 US tent option. The tent was clean and had a proper mattress/futon, and was all we needed because we spent all of our time on the beach anyway. We had access to frisbees, snorkel gear and fishing line. Tons of hammocks lined the tent area, offering perfect spots to read a book or journal (there was no wifi, but who needs it in this paradise). Robbie, the owner, was fantastic and made our stay really fun. He gave us candle lanterns to light once the sun went down and we all gathered around the bonfire as our lanterns floated away. After that we got our swim gear on and went to explore the bioluminescence in the ocean, which was unreal. Having a whole pure white sand beach to ourselves and a guide-like host keeping us entertained solidified Coconut Beach as our best accommodation, even though we slept in a tent!
- In a small town along the east coast of South Island near the Great Coast Road, we stumbled across the incredibly purple Duke Backpacker Hostel on a dark and gloomy day. Though we had to wait for the owner to run over from his son’s christmas recital (how cute) to get our keys, this hostel was immensely generous. We were offered fresh bakery bread right at the check-in desk, and free toast and soup were available for breakfast and dinner.. talk about money saving! Parking was also free just behind the main building. Wifi was free in the funky and very chill main room, and we lounged on the couches and planned the last few days of our trip here. The room was big, and the bed was super comfy. We were only there the one night, but there is a cool looking bar attached to the main building with cheap drinks. An interesting and colourful hostel in a relatively bland town, if you need to make a stop on your way down the east coast we definitely recommend Duke Backpackers!
- Location: Corner of Albert and Guiness St.
- Cost: $74 NZ (70 CAD)
- Book online here
- Don Det was one of our favourite places to visit, and Mr. B’s Sunset Bungalow contributed to that. It was basically just a wooden box with a bed and mosquito net inside, but it fit right in with everything else on the island. We didn’t need much in the actual room, as we spent all of our time on the balcony just outside our room on the provided hammocks. Our balcony overlooked the rushing Mekong River, and you guessed it, faced west to provide some spectacular sunset views right outside our room. Add a beer lao to the equation and we were in heaven. The Bungalows are also close to the main drag and our favourite hangout Adam’s Bar, and only cost us a measly 40,000 kip.
- Location: Northwest side of the island, behind the pool near the main ferry stop.
- Cost: 40,000 kip (6.50 CAD)
- Book online here
Khaemse Guesthouse – Pakse, Laos
- Khaemse Guesthouse was also a bright spot in a quick stopover in a pretty boring town. A large basic room with an en suite bathroom and free wifi ran us only 60,000 kip. It’s situated at the end of a dirt road right on the riverbank. Hammocks and couches can be found on a deck hanging over the water, and it’s a great place to chill and write in your journal. The hostel was just up the road from La Vida, an awesome american breakfast place that cranks the A/C all day and lets you fill up your water bottle for free! If you need to stop in Pakse on your way through Laos, or want to stay a few days to explore the nearby Bolaven Plateau, we encourage you to stay and unwind at Khamese Guesthouse.
- Location: At the north end of No. 24 Rd. on River Xe Don
- Cost: 60,000 kip (9.75 CAD)
- You’ll need to head over to Khaemse Guesthouse in person to book a room
- A pleasant surprise on our one night in Hervey Bay, The Friendly Hostel was more like a shared home than a Hostel, and it was only $60 AUS. Our bedroom was fully decked out, our bed was even made with a stuffed animal on it! Three rooms (including ours) surrounded one main living room/kitchen upstairs, all outfitted with free wifi. The kitchen was decked out with all the gear you needed, and the living room had a comfy couch and tv with DVDs you could borrow from check in. Free bike rentals were also an awesome perk that this hostel offered! Unfortunately we were tired and didn’t have enough time to take advantage of them. To top off this great homey place, the front garden was fenced in to serve as a playground for guinea pigs! (Yes you heard us correctly). Make sure to get off at the Torquay Bus Stop and you can request a free pickup to the hostel. The Friendly Hostel is a great place to chill before you take your ferry to the infamous Fraser Island.
- Location: Near the corner of Tourquay and Grossner St.
- Cost: $60 AUS
- Book online here
- We ended up at Baan Bua on a very rainy day in Chiang Rai, but we were immediately enchanted by this cute hostel surrounded by a lovely garden. Breakfast was offered cheaply and we ate and chilled on the funky garden tables all morning. Our room was big and clean, and we got wifi and AirCon for 400 baht. Buan Bua is also very close to both the main bus station, Golden Clock Tower, and Night Bazaar which are all important parts of Chiang Rai.
- Location: Jetyod Road, south of the Chiang Rai Clock Tower, behind Orchid Guesthouse.
- Cost: 400 Baht (15.15 CAD)
- Book online here
My Tra Homestay – Sapa, Vietnam
- Our Sapa accommodation was a mixture of homestay and hostel. The owner is named Andrew, and he lives there with his Vietnamese wife and extremely cute daughter. The upstairs is an open room with mats to sleep on, as well as some boxed in private rooms with beds. We had paid for dorm style but since we arrived really early and none were available he let us stay in one of the private rooms which was awesome. The living room had a massive tv with a bunch of channels, and a fridge with beers and other drinks you could have as long as you recorded it to be added to your bill later. Breakfast was $5 and dinner was $7 US. The main draw was the location. Smack dab in the middle of Ta Van village in a picturesque valley. A benefit to this homestay was that Andrew simply drew up a map for us and we were able to explore the mountain side rice fields without a guide and on our own time. The scenery along our hike was unreal. Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a homestay atmosphere but still want the social aspect of a hostel.
- Location: About an hour northeast of Sapa. You’ll have to look around for a taxi driver who knows where My Tra Homestay is, or contact Andrew beforehand to help you arrange a ride.
- Cost: $8 US each for dormstyle beds!
- We didn’t actually stay at this hostel, but we spent all of our down time here visiting our friends because it was such a cool spot. A basic room with an en suite bathroom cost only 450 baht, but the main draw was the garden chill spot with comfy couches under the terrace. The relaxed vibe and strong free wifi allowed us to spend a ton of time researching and journaling while still outside. At the same time we were cooled by rotating fans and were cozy on one of many couches or cushions. Two computers and a printer were also available for use for a small fee. This unique spot was off the beaten track yet still inside the amazing Old City walls, which made for an amazing stay in Chiang Mai!
- Location: Rachadamnoen Soi 1. Walking north from Rachadamnoen Rd. near Tha Phae Gate (East Gate) it is just around the first bend.
- Cost: 450 baht (17 CAD)
- Book online here
- Kuta is a popular tourist destination, and many uppity hotels clog the main drag. We found an awesome spot that was luxury in our minds for a measly 195,000 rupiah. Off the main drag so as not to be kept up by drunk party backpackers all night, but still only a 5 min walk to Skygarden and the beach; the location was perfect. This hotel had free breakfast, wifi, and an awesome pool. The rooms were super spacy, and the bathroom had a glass enclosed shower. Two months into our trip, this place felt like a resort. Definitely look into Ayu Lili Garden Hotel for the perfect balance of cheap and luxurious!
- Location: Just off Jl. Benesari on an unnamed side road travelling west, just before Four Points hotel.
- Cost: 195,000 rupiah (19.75 CAD)
- Book online here
Monkey Republic – Sihanoukville, Cambodia
- We often tried to seek out more laid back hostels, but if you want to try out a more upbeat place, Sihanoukville is the place to do it. Monkey Republic is an awesome, fun hostel with a great bar, pool and spacious clean rooms. The rooms are situated behind the main building so they’re away from most of the noise, and are also at ground level so you don’t get too hot. The crazy bargain price of $7/night comes with free wifi and a free beer ticket at check in. The bar itself serves some great american and Cambodian grub, and the beers are cold and refreshing. Hidden upstairs is a more relaxing lounge area where you can hide away from the noise if you’re a little tired. Monkey Republic is also right on the main drag, and an easy walk from Serendipity Beach. We stayed here before and after our trip to Koh Rong, and we literally ran from our tuk tuk to snag a room on our second stay! This place comes highly recommended.
- Location: Ochheuteal St. just south east of the Two Golden Lions roundabout statue
- Cost: $7 US
- Blossoming Romduol was a pleasant find during our temple tour in Siem Reap. It was only a five minute walk to Pub Street, which we visited every night to unwind and rest our tired feet after a long day of exploring the Temples of Angkor. The rooms were really big, beds super comfy, and the ensuite bathroom was nice and clean. Our room also had a tv, which was great for relaxing as well. Breakfast was included, and on our 5am start on sunrise temple day they even packed up our breakfast to go so we could eat it on our way, even though breakfast didn’t open until 6am. However, the greatest part of Blossoming Romduol was the free garden fish spa! We had always been nervous about paying to try it out, and rightly so as we could barely handle the tickling fish, but it was still a cool experience and great addition to the hotel. Getting to the hotel was also easy with a free pickup if arranged beforehand.
- Location: Psa Kroum Rd. southwest of Sivatha Blvd.
- Cost: $12 US
- Book online here