As backpackers, we know that a good hostel can be so much more than a place to rest your weary head. It’s a place where you can make a home from home, a place where you can create your own hostel family. It’s here where you’ll share travel stories (and a few drinks!) with fellow backpackers, make friends for life and find a comfortable haven away from the crazy, unpredictable life on the road.
So what makes a good hostel?
Recently, we reviewed the brand new Brick House Hostel in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand who seem to have got everything right when it comes to creating the perfect hostel. (That’s why we added them to our list of Best Hostels in South East Asia here!)
Check out our list of 10 things that make a hostel great in our eyes, and what makes Brick House Hostel so cool!
1. A Variety of Beds = a Variety of People!
In many hostels in South East Asia, you’ll come across a mish-mash of people, from the flashpacking couple, to the digital nomad or the on-a-shoestring budget backpacker. It’s this mix of interesting folks that makes life in a hostel so fun – and never boring!
Brick House Hostel makes this happen by offering budget guests the chance to stay in a basic dorm room or the option of private en-suites for those who fancy a little more comfort. Everybody’s happy!
There are five spacious ensuite rooms with air-con, flat-screen TV, desk and open wardrobe and dorms with the option of 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 (bunk) beds. There is also a secured ‘ladies zone’ on the third floor. All spotlessly clean rooms / beds come with a duvet and a towel and a sizeable lockable storage. Each locker has a power outlet inside so you can charge your phone or camera safely.
2. You can Party OR Relax
Party hostels can be great fun. Knocking shots back at the bar with newfound travel buddies, taking part in hostel games and events and getting roaring drunk with the bar staff. However, sometimes you may want a little peace and quiet and time for your liver to recover!
At Brick House hostel you can live it up in the swish hostel bar, but there are plenty of other areas in the hostel if you want to just chill out, read a book or return to your bunk for an early night without the worry of being woken up by loud music all night.
3. Activities in the Hostel
You know you’ve found a really good hostel when you’re finding it hard to leave to explore the city! Activities taking place at the hostel are a great way to meet new people and find out more about what’s going on in the city you’re staying.
4. Amazing Facilities
A place where you can get your laundry done, connect to free WIFI, have a hot shower and dry your hair, use free toiletries, read a book and hang out with friends – why you’ve got it better than you ever had at home! Some hostels in South East Asia offer all the home comforts you could ever need (TV, laundry service, trip booking facilities, towels, showers etc.) and some go that little extra….
Brick House hostel has many hangout areas. It even has a workout area for those wanting to keep in shape, complete with treadmill, cross trainer, exercise bike and weights.
And wait until you see their amazing swimming pool – which is even heated in the winter!
Hostels can be the hub for people to go when they want to celebrate an event or watch an important sporting match!
At Brick House Hostel recently, they celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve, making such a fuss that no one had time to feel homesick. They regularly screen major sporting events and Premiership football matches and you can also enjoy movie nights in the hostel.
6. The Hostel Bar & Restaurant
The focal point of any hostel is the hostel bar, where people come to meet and mingle – and not just with people who are staying at the hostel. A hostel can be a great place to socialise for the whole city!
At Brick House Hostel the bar and restaurant ‘Fill Me Up’ offers great local and international food and drink and good prices. Try local specialties such as Khao Soi (chicken curried noodle soup) or famous Thai dish, Tom Yum Kung. The friendly staff will be pleased to introduce you to all the amazing varieties of Thai dishes!
7. Local Community Involvement
Attracting visitors from all over the world, it’s important for a hostel to stay connected to the local community around it. A hostel must provide an example to its guests for how to behave within the local culture and if they can, give something back – especially in Southeast Asia where there are many people who need help and many worthwhile causes to support.
Recently, Brick House Hostel held activities on Children’s Day in the hostel for local children of Chiang Mai. Backpackers were invited to help the children with their English and play games with them in the spirit of international interaction.
8. Great location
Location, location, location. No matter how good a hostel is, the location is vitally important. Nobody wants to be staying out in the sticks. When you only have a few days to visit a place, you want to be in the heart of the action with restaurants, bars, shops and attractions close by.
Brick House Hostel is ideally located in the heart of Chiang Mai all around with famous places such as Warorot Market, Thapae Gate, Sunday Walking Street, Night Bazaar, Flower Market, many beautiful temples, various restaurants and shops. It’s the perfect place to explore the cultural capital of Thailand!
9. Local Knowledge & Travel Planning
A good hostel will be able to advise you on the best things to do and places to go within the local area. And not just the touristy places either!You’ll want tips on authentic eateries and local bars to try so that you can discover the local culture away from the hostel.
At Brick House Hostel the staff are more than happy to recommend and book for you activities to do in Chiang Mai and its surrounds, such as yoga, Muay Thai, cooking classes, trekking, visits to elephant sanctuaries, zip wiring, quad biking, rafting mountain biking and more! They can help you to hire a bicycle or a motorbike and also advise with onward travel to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia or Myanmar. Check out their tours here!
10. Friendly Staff that Will Make You Feel like Family
When you’re far away from your own family, it’s nice to know that you can rely on the people at your hostel to help you if you get involved in a sticky situation. The staff at Brick House Hostel will go out of their way to help you with anything – from travel planning to local advice.
BrickHouse Hostel Chiangmai: www.brickhousehostel.com.
Address: 7/2, Soi 2 Kamphaeng Din Road, Chiang Mai 50100 Thailand