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Hostel newbie

  • rnrgrl

    Joined Travelfish
    10th September, 2011
    Posts: 1

    I am going to be in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for the month of Oct. I am planning to stay in hostels but I have never stayed in a hostel before. I have a vague idea of what to expect but have a few questions. Should I book in advance or can I wing it? Do I need to bring my own bedding (ie sleeping bag or something of the sort)? And any other info people think might be helpful for a newbie. Thanks!

    #1 Posted: 10/9/2011 - 02:37

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2155
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Don't bother booking in advance. Oct isn't peak season so you should have no problem in finding a place along the way. And generally, where there is one hostel, there will be plenty more - so if you can't get into one, you'll get into the one next door.

    By not booking ahead, you maintain complete flexibility in your travel plans. You have probably mapped out an itinerary for yourself already which is great to help keep you on track, but you will inevitably want to stay somewhere for longer, and/or keep moving on from areas that don't appeal. If you pre-book, you are stuck.

    I usually work out the top 3 places that I will want to stay (near each other) and have their addresses written down. When you get off a bus you will be ambushed by 100's of tuktuk/taxi drivers all wanting to take you to their 'uncle's guesthouse'. Best thing is to either walk away to a local cafe to grab a drink, catch your breath and let the hordes disappear. Then find a driver who isn't so desparate (ie not so pushy!) and get him to take you to where YOU want to go. If asked, I always say I already have a booking - this way, they won't try to divert you to a place of their choice.

    I wouldn't bother taking any bedding other than a silk sleep sheet. Most places will provide linen, and even though they are usually fine, they don't always look the cleanest. Silk sheets are very light weight, fold up into to a little pouch, and comfortable and cool to sleep in. They also help keep rogue mozzies off of you.

    You can usually buy them from camping/outdoor/adventure stores at an exorbitant price, but I noticed them everywhere in Vietnam for only a few dollars (in old quarters of Hanoi in particular).

    #2 Posted: 10/9/2011 - 04:15

  • travellings-

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2010
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 679
    Total reviews: 11
    Places visited:
    At least 87

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Completely agree with busylizzy. You'll find silk sleeping bags all over Old Quarter but best area to try is around Hang Gai / Hang Manh. Prepare to haggle. Hostels aren't particularly prevalent in SE Asia but are popping up more and more. However, be prepared to stay in guesthouses in some places. You can read about the hostels in Hanoi here. http://www.travelfish.org/blogs/hanoi/2011/06/29/hostels-in-hanoi/

    #3 Posted: 10/9/2011 - 14:08

  • kfchris1

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2011
    Posts: 14

    Wow amazing info lizzy thanks alot!! im a newbie aswell so its useful to get all the information possible.

    #4 Posted: 10/9/2011 - 17:37

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