Updated November 6th, 2018.
The hostels in Southeast Asia are incredible. A backpacker is really spoilt for choice! In most of the countries in SEA, for around $10 US Dollars you can find a hostel with a swimming pool, free breakfast, fast WIFI, plus nightly events to keep you entertained and help you to mix with fellow travellers…
For solo travellers, the hostel scene in Southeast Asia is the best way to make friends and find travel buddies with whom to continue your onward journey. When lone travellers ask me what the best way to make friends is, I tell them – “book yourself into a night at a sociable hostel on the first night you land and you’ll be sorted for the rest of your trip!”
For couples and those wanting something different than the backpacker party scene, don’t panic. You’ll find peaceful guesthouses set in stunning locations, relaxing beach bungalows, eco-friendly hostels, yoga hostels, arty hostels, digital nomad hostels and so much more…
Ever wanted to spend the night in a capsule hostel? Some of Southeast Asia’s hostels are so modern you’ll feel like you are sleeping in a spaceship! Capsule hostels are becoming popular across cities in Southeast Asia…
Basically, when it comes to Southeast Asia hostels – there is something to suit everyone!
Should you book hostels in Southeast Asia in advance?
If you are going to be travelling during the high season then it’s a good idea to book in advance. (High season in most of Southeast Asia is November – February, but this differs from place to place so be sure to do your research!) Other peak times when you should consider booking accommodation are during holidays and festivals, most definitely Christmas, New Year (that includes Buddhist and Chinese New Year also) and any local events e.g. The Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. From our experience, the best place to check availability and find cheap deals is on Booking.com. Plus, they allow you the option to cancel, free of charge, if you change your travel plans.
Hostels in Thailand – What to Expect?
- Cheapest Dorm: $3 US | Average Dorm: $11 US | Average Private Room: $20 US.
- Also see: The Best Hostels in Bangkok.
- Also see: The Best Hostels in Chiang Mai.
- Also see: The Best Hostels in Koh Phangan.
What to expect? A huge variety of hostels, from party hostels to boutique guesthouses and beach bungalows. Hostels in Thailand have a high level of cleanliness and are extremely good value for money, especially in the north. (Hostels in the South islands can be more expensive.) All over Thailand, expect fast WIFI, trendy design, free breakfast and a lively social scene!
Hostels in Vietnam – What to Expect?
- Cheapest Dorm: $3 US | Average Dorm: $7 US | Average Private Room: $15 US.
- Also see: The Best Hostels in Hanoi. (Coming soon)
What to expect? Vietnam is a close second to Thailand when it comes to good quality backpacker hostels. Dorms here are even cheaper than in Thailand at around $6-7 US per night on average. Expect a lively social scene, especially if you stay at any of the Vietnam Backpackers’ Hostels chain. Swimming pools, cheap beer, cheap tours and free breakfasts are all thrown in. A backpacker will be in their element in Vietnam’s variety of hostels. Don’t miss a trip to the legendary Ninhvana.
Hostels in Cambodia – What to Expect?
- Cheapest Dorm: $2 US | Average Dorm: $4 US | Average Private Room: $10 US.
What to expect? Cambodia’s hostels are super cheap, starting as low as $2 US in the main tourist cities of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. So what do you get for your two dollars? Well, the dorms and dorm beds are clean and you might even get a free breakfast thrown in! If you can stretch to $3 or $4 US you’re looking at a hostel with a swimming pool, bar and other facilities. All hostels will have WIFI and will usually have an attached restaurant. In the beachy areas and islands prices are still very low, starting at around $5 US for a dorm bed. If you’re travelling in high season, it’s a good idea to book in advance.
Hostels in Laos – What to Expect?
- Cheapest Dorm: $5 US | Average Dorm: $8 US | Average Private Room: $20 US.
What to expect? Accommodation across Laos is very good value for money with a high level of cleanliness and good facilities like free breakfast and WIFI etc. While not as trendy as Thailand when it comes to interior design, the laid-back Laotians are catching up. You’ll find the best selection of hostels in the popular tourist destinations of Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. While in some of the more remote areas, cheap characterless guesthouses are more likely what’s on offer. Book in advance to secure the best hostels.
Hostels in Malaysia – What to Expect?
- Cheapest Dorm: $5 US | Average Dorm: $13 US | Average Private Room: $18 US.
What to expect? After backpacking in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, you’ll find hostels in Malaysia more expensive, particularly in Peninsular Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur and Penang, an average dorm bed will cost around $15 US. Due to higher property prices in Malaysia), dorms are a bit more cramped and many of them have no windows. A basic free breakfast is usually included. The Perhentian Islands are notoriously crap for hostels and it’s better there to turn up and hunt out a room than book online. Heading over to Malaysian Borneo, hostels become cheaper in the likes of Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, around $5 US for a basic dorm room.
Hostels in Indonesia – What to Expect?
- Cheapest Dorm: $5 US | Average Dorm: $10 US | Average Private Room: $20 US.
- Also see: The Best Hostels in Bali.
What to expect? Hostels across Indonesia vary wildly depending on where you are. In the most touristy destinations, like Bali and the Gili Islands, you’ll find boutique flashpacker hostels and party hostels galore, complete with swimming pools and nightly events! However, head off the beaten track to the more remote parts of Sumatra and Java and you’ll be faced with something much more basic, more often than not a guesthouse. The capital Jakarta has a variety of decent options for around $8 US, as does Yogyakarta. As tourism grows in Indonesia, there are more and more great hostels sprouting up!
Hostels in Myanmar – What to Expect?
- Cheapest Dorm: $5 US | Average Dorm: $15 US | Average Private Room: $30 US.
What to expect? Due to the fact that Myanmar (Burma) was shut off from tourists for many years when it comes to backpacker accommodation, the country has a lot of catching up to do! In terms of cleanliness, facilities and design of hostels, Myanmar is years behind the likes of Thailand. However, as tourism grows and local people realise that there’s a different type of tourist than your 5* hotel-goer, the options for budget travellers are increasing. In Bagan, expect to pay around $19 US for a flashpacker hostel or $14 US for something more basic, and around $30 US for a double room. Private rooms can be $30-50 US.
Hostels in Singapore – What to Expect?
- Cheapest Dorm: $12 US | Average Dorm: $15 US | Average Private Room: $50 US.
What to expect? Singapore is hands down the most expensive place in Southeast Asia. After backpacking in other parts of the region, your wallet is going to get a shock! Food, drinks, attractions and transport is more expensive. Backpacker Hostels start at around $12 US for a basic bed in a dorm room and you’re looking at $40 US and up for a double room. A basic free breakfast is often included at hostels as well as free WIFI and sometimes tea and coffee throughout the day. Be sure to book in advance to get the cheapest prices.
Hostels in the Philippines – What to Expect?
- Cheapest Dorm: $5 US | Average Dorm: $13 US | Average Private Room: $25 US.
What to expect? Prices across the Philippines vary wildly depending on where you are. After all, this is a country made up of over 7,000 islands each with a slightly different vibe! In backpacker hubs like El Nido, Boracay and the city of Cebu, you can get a bed for as low as $5 US in a lively sociable hostel. In the capital, Manila, a bed in a super swish hostel will cost you around $12 US. On some of the islands which are not as frequented by tourists, like Siquijor, dorm style rooms are not as common and you can expect to pay around $15 US for a double room. Booking in advance is recommended.
Read reviews of some of our absolute favourite hostels and guesthouses in Southeast Asia…
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