Whilst lay in my bed in a not so appealing wooden hut in Thailand I began thinking about all the downright awful places I had stayed whilst backpacking, and also reminding myself that there had been a number of great places I had been fortunate enough to stay in too. This article focuses on the bad, however my article here focuses on all the great places I have stayed.
As I have travelled quite a lot, people tend to say to me “it’s all right for some, gallivanting all over the world”, however I just want to remind these people that backpacking isn’t about staying in 5 star hotels, like I’m sure some people actually think I do. I prefer to spend my money exploring as much of the world as I can, and taking in as much culture as I can, but unfortunately it means that sometimes I end up staying in accommodation that’s not so great.
All prices stated below are based on two sharing.
Cabana Garden Bungalows, Railey, Thailand
We had heard that the number of backpacker digs on Railey had diminished, however we had still hoped to find somewhere a little better than this. Alas, it was not to be – there are now only 2 real backpacker options left on East Railey and so finding budget accommodation in high season is a tough task.
Our accommodation comprised of a wooden hut, a little more open to the elements than we would have liked. There were gaps in the floor boards, a smashed window and ‘ventilation’ holes as big as windows. Needless to say we were invaded by spiders, lizards, cockroaches and to top it off, black stinging ants in the toilet bowl – not something you want to discover when you wander from your bed in the middle of the night and sit on the toilet! I woke several times during the night convinced there was a giant spider in the bed with me. The bathroom only had cold water, the toilet was manual flush (i.e. throw a bucket of water down after you have done your business) and there was no sink so you had to turn the shower on to brush your teeth or wash your face. The hut even lacked wall plugs (and definitely didn’t have wi-fi!)
Price paid per night: 600b (approx. £12 / $18)
Hotel Abhi Satya, Darjeeling, India
It was the beginning of a festival when we arrived in Darjeeling so budget accommodation was in short supply. We ended up staying at Hotel Abhi Satya, a guesthouse ran by a lovely lady, however unfortunately it had no insulation or double glazing, and as it was only 10c outside, it was only 10c inside. To make matters worse, it only had cold water (ICE cold) – luckily they offered bucket hot water if you wanted to shower without turning into an icicle. The bathroom was very basic with only a squatter toilet and a sink that wasn’t plumbed in so it dribbled cold water on your feet every time you used it.
Price paid per night: rs.400 (approx. £5 / $7.50)
India Guesthouse, Mumbai, India
Mumbai was the hottest and most humid place we stayed in India (think 40c heat and 80% humidity), which was unfortunate because we also ended up staying in what seemed like the hottest hostel in the world. The private rooms were separated only by a thin piece of ply wood that didn’t even reach the ceiling so it felt like the hotel was one huge dorm room – we had to whisper if we wanted to talk to one another. In addition, all the bathrooms were shared and the urinal was right next to the shower – it stank. To top it off the owner was very rude and greeted us with ‘oh your late’ when we arrived an hour later than we had advised due to traffic on our way from the airport.
Price paid per night: rs.600 (approx. £7.50 / $11.25)
Hotel on the Vietnam / Cambodia border in ‘mosquito town’ (the name of which I have forgotten as I did not wish to remember the ordeal!)
The hostel was chosen by our tour agency that we had booked our boat crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia through. There were rat droppings on all the ledges, in the bathroom and under the bed. We had to clean before we could sleep. There were also 3 shady looking men on motorcycles lurking around outside, whom I found out the next day had broken into a girls room by cutting the mosquito wire on the window and reaching in to turn the door handle. Luckily she was able to escape and ran out of the room screaming which scared the men off.
Price paid per night: included in 2 day / 1 night boat trip from Vietnam to Cambodia
A hut in the jungle near San Ignacio, Belize (as part of a G Adventures group tour of Central America)
The hut had a corrugated iron roof and it rained really hard the night we stayed – the sound of rain on a corrugated iron roof is not one you can easily through. The bathrooms were shared, and open air so I had the pleasure of taking a shower with a rather large spider looking at me. It also felt rather creepy at night due to its location in the jungle, but it didn’t help that that day I’d seen a dead body whilst tubing down the river. Apparently the unlucky man was a victim of gang related drug crime.
Price paid per night: included in G Adventures tour