If you fancy yourself as a bit of a “flashpacker” but lack the funds to meet the lifestyle, then boy do we have news for you!
We’re not sure who wrote the original rulebook dictating the standard of hostels in South East Asia but here at the S.E.A Backpacker office, we’re sure as heck glad it’s been put out for recycling. Travellers can now wave goodbye to the days of hovering over the tick boxes, deciding between chic and cheap, and embrace the new trend of boutique budget hostels, bringing Western standards to those of us with Champagne taste but lemon soda pockets!
Swanky and elegant are not usually words synonymous with the backpacking world but ‘times they are a changing!’ The gap year is no longer about disappearing off to the other side of the planet, not speaking to the folks for several months, growing a beard and sleeping in digs that would mortify your mother – no siree – gone are the days of travellers-on-a-shoestring having to endure rat infested dorms and filthy beds!
Swanky and elegant – on a shoestring budget!
As South East Asia continues to be a hugely popular destination for backpackers, accommodation styles are developing to meet the needs of the modern traveller. Savvy hostel owners have cottoned on to what the contemporary backpacker is looking for and a new wave of hostels is now popping up all over South East Asia.
Hostels like Lofi Group are pioneering this new trend. We recently visited these much talked about hostels and were extremely impressed with the services they offer:
- A quiet night’s sleep in a clean, comfortable bed sized to fit foreigners (yay to not having to avoid the ominous crusty patch, and no dangling feet!)
- 24/7 WIFI to update the blog, upload photos and favourably compare ones present lifestyle to the poor sods back home.
- A comfortable communal space to meet likeminded individuals with whom to analyse moped scars.
- Fully air conditioned rooms and lounge, providing a welcome respite (other than the local 7-eleven) from the humidity.
The chic Lofi Inn Saigon is a five-minute walk from the noise of Pham Ngu Lao, the bustling backpacker street in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. There’s no compromise on cleanliness; you’ll receive a bundle of fresh sheets on arrival (removing the guesswork from whether or not they were changed post previous grungy-travel-dude), complimentary breakfast, a beer, free high speed broadband, fast WIFI and computer station to feed your Facebook addiction, free guided tours twice a week, events nights, culinary classes, an entertainment room, kitchen and a rooftop chill out area… What more could you ask for? All for a price tag of US$7 per night – you can barely get breakfast for that in Europe!
For those of us with Champagne taste but lemon soda pockets!
Singapore Hotels are generally ridiculously priced which is why most backpackers either don’t stay long or avoid the place completely for fear of it devouring too large a portion of the hard-earned. The newly decorated Lofi Inn Singapore, however, with its reclaimed marble floors, attached bathrooms and hotel security system bridges the gap between the “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” type hotels and the ones you’d be reluctant to go in to ask for directions. Found at the heart of historic Little India and with fantastic transport connections you’ll be hard pushed to find an excuse not to visit all the main tourist attractions.
“It’s not where you go but whom you meet”
For some, backpacking is as much about meeting other travellers as it is immersing oneself in the local culture. If you’re traveling alone, or simply need to “mix it up a bit” as you’ve been travelling with the same buddy for a while, a hostel like Lofi will effortlessly provide you with a selection of new accomplices. As someone once said, “Hostels are like the United Nations – with bunkbeds”. The Lonely Planet will only get you so far; it’s those off-the-beaten-track recommendations of fellow backpackers shared while the sun goes down over a cold beer back at the hostel that can be a truly priceless part of your adventure.
It’s not where you go but whom you meet
A single bunk in a dorm room with attached bathroom and lockers, sleeping 6-8 people at the Lofi Inn Saigon will set you back a measly $7 a night. All-female dorms are available from $8 and a twin bunk room is from $25. A bed in a mixed dorm at The Lofi Inn Singapore is from $22 or better still, if there’s a group of you, take a family room from $85. Oh, and checkout isn’t until 12 noon – how well they know us!
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