Hanoi Backpackers Hostel Ma May
A hostel to be looked up to
What we say:
It’s impossible to miss the most recent addition to the Hanoi Backpackers’ Hostel stable, with its seven-storey, eight-metre wide frontage slap-bang in the middle of the most tourist-orientated area of Old Quarter.
The original Hanoi Backpackers’, on Ngo Huyen near St Joseph’s Cathedral, is still going strong, but the new venue combines more modern styling and facilities with a location that is easier to find and more convenient for Hanoi’s nightlife.
Hanoi Backpackers’ Hostel on Ma May offers more than 160 dorm beds, in both female-only and mixed dorms, with 18 being double-sized for very friendly or budget-conscious couples to share. And, while it makes no excuses for being anything other than a backpackers’ hostel, HBH also indulges those looking to combine the traveller vibe with more private accommodation: twin and double “boudoirs” are available.
All dorms come with air-con, fan and windows, and well thought out touches such as lockers for valuables, in which you can leave your iPod charging, and private reading lights. Beds are well-sized and kitted out with fresh white bedding. There’s a brightly decorated shared bathroom on each floor, containing shower cubicles and enough space to change.
Private rooms are well-decorated – the description is “funky” – and come with their own, equally funky, bathroom. Beds are substantial and inviting, there’s cable TV and large windows with a view.
Security’s good too: there’s always a guard on the front door and entry to the guest floors and the rooms is by key card. Also, bags can be stored in a locked room behind reception when you’re off on a trip or out for the day.
WiFi beams throughout plus there’s internet stations by reception and in the guests-only lounge on the fifth floor. The private lounge is a real bonus: filling the entire floor, sofas and beanbags surround a large flat-screen TV and the slightly more active can play pool or table football. There’s also a large balcony.
And then there’s the bar on the ground floor. The new hostel’s made up for the lack of space at the original with a huge bar area alongside reception, serving a good range of beers, spirits, soft drinks and freshly made fruit smoothies. It also has an extensive food menu, including Western comfort food staples and Vietnamese dishes, all reasonably priced and tasty. The bar hosts various special nights and regular happy hours. And how happy they are.
As with most other hostels and hotels, you won’t have any problem booking a tour or onward transport here. Details of tours to Perfume Pagoda, Sapa and Mai Chau are emblazoned over the walls and the ‘Rock Long Rock Hard’ Halong Bay tour is widely regarded as the best on offer, if you’re up for a bit of partying and something more active than the usual kayaking. The two-night option also includes a stay on their private island. Other services include money exchange, towel hire and burning discs.
Dorm beds are the same price as at other hostels in Hanoi, at $6 for the standard beds and $9 for a double, including breakfast. This would be good value even if just the beds were taken into consideration, but with the added extras like the lounge it becomes a great deal.
At $40, the private rooms are also comparable in price to nearby alternatives, such as Cozy Hotel 2, Classic Street Hotel and May de Ville, so it really comes down to whether you want the atmosphere of a hostel or prefer a bit more peace and quiet.
If you want a dorm bed but Hanoi Backpackers’ doesn’t sound like your kind of place, Hostel May de Ville, about 5 minutes’ walk away off Ta Hien, has more of a hotel feel to it, but still offers dorm beds at the same price and has a common lounge area. Or try Little Hanoi Hotel on Hang Ga – but that only has one dorm room and gets booked up, so get in quick.
The atmosphere at HBH is hard to generalise about, as it really depends on how busy it is and who’s there. Amazingly, despite its size, it’s often full, and 160+ backpackers can make for one helluva lively vibe – particularly when you throw free shots and a game of beer pong into the equation. Other nights it’s more chilled and a pleasant place for a beer and a bite to eat. Unfortunately, which way it’s going to go is difficult to predict.
HBH on Ma May is a great addition to the accommodation and social scene in Hanoi, and it’s certainly a good place to meet like-minded travellers; it won’t suit those looking for a more cosy, family feel, a traditional style or simply want to avoid the – mostly young — backpacker crowd.
Disclaimer: Our Hanoi correspondent worked on the branding and design for this place in the past but its dominance in the accommodation scene in Hanoi means it still needed a Travelfish.org write up.
Make a reservation online now
Contact details:9 Ma May, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. T: (04) 3935 1890
Email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What we were quoted
|Type of room||Low season||High season||Notes|
|Dorm air-con||6 USD||6 USD||$9 for a double dorm bed|
|Dbl air-con private b'room||40 USD||40 USD|
Added to Travelfish on: 1st October, 2012
Last visited or updated on: 10th March, 2014
Read Hanoi Backpackers Hostel Ma May reviews
Rated 4 out of 5
Based on 1 ratings and 1 reviews
The blurriest hostel I've stayed in
Quick points: Amazingly friendly, clean, efficient, ridiculously fun, a total party hostel, arrange excellent tours with a cost to match (they love saying: "you get what you pay for"), could be a little to 'international' for someone trying to experience the 'local' vietnam
Checking into Hanoi Backpackers Hostel on Ma May pretty much set the tone for what the rest of my five day stay here was going to be like. We walked in at about 6pm to find the place booming with music and people. There were people holding beers at the entrance itself and many more at the bar which is just after the reception so you can basically walk over and get a beer while you wait for your room keys. We'd decided to step out as soon as we got settled, but the general atmosphere of the hostel was so lively (understatement!) and open that we decided to stay for a beer. Ended up staying for the next few hours there; everybody wants to talk and mingle. I've lived in a fair few hostels around the world but never saw one where everyone so actively mingled with everyone else. The free shots helped. The great thing is that while the bar area is super noisy, on either side are quieter areas (the entrance on one side and the open fire escape area on the other) which give people a place to have a conversation. As the party reached its peak, the nightly pub crawl was initiated, which was a pretty good (though definitely not the best!) way to get a peek into Hanoi's underground nightlife.
The hostel itself, with the lounge, is very comfortable. We stayed in an 8 bed dorm, which was quite cramped. If my locker under the bed was open, other people weren't able to get to one side of the room since my bed was right in the middle of the room. We later stayed in a 12 bed dorm which we actually found more spacious (in terms of personal space). Either way, we didn't spend much time in the dorms. Bathrooms are spacious and clean with every shower having a separate changing area.
Hanoi Backpackers Hostel Ma May reviewed by dhruv (Total published reviews: 1) on
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Hanoi Backpackers Hostel Ma May map
Hanoi Backpackers Hostel Ma May
9 Ma May, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
T: (04) 3935 1890
Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Mapbox
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Reviews about Hanoi Backpackers Hostel Ma May
The blurriest hostel I've stayed in
By dhruv, 24 May 2014