Your home away from home
As spacious as it is popular, BackHome ticks a lot of boxes, but the beds could do with a revamp to make it truly of of Kuala Lumpur’s best hostels.
We had our final night in KL here and there is a lot to love about BackHome. It is a large space with plenty of wide open areas and room to hang out in—buttressed by a large common area atrium shared with the neighbouring LOKL coffee shop (which is also excellent).
Rooms are split across two floors each with their own set of bathrooms and showers. This is great for the upstairs rooms who can reach the bathrooms by a raised platform above the cafe area, but downstairs guests need to walk through the atrium to reach the shower and as the atrium also hosts clientele from the cafe, it isn’t ideal. Shared bathrooms and showers are kept to a very high standard of cleanliness—no concerns whatsoever in that regard.
Dorms are well oversized and other hostels we’ve seen in KL would have crammed in double the number of beds that BackHome have—this is a strongpoint of the dorms. The beds themselves are solid—you’d have to have some seriously affectionate behaviour going on above you to have the bunkbed shaking, this happens more often than you may think! Each comes with a base sheet and a folded top sheet, and you’re given a motel-style blanket upon check-in. Towels are not supplied and will cost you an extra 5 ringgit for the duration of your stay—we hate this practise, but thankfully we’re seeing less and less of it.
The bunks are semi pod-style, well the lower bunks are anyway, but none have privacy curtains and in our dorm two other guests (one male, one female) had tried to jerry-rig up a curtain for themselves. Each bunk does have a small vanity section with some shelving and a sliding door, a nifty pull out table, power plug and light. This was all great, but at the price BackHome is charging for dorms, they really should have privacy curtains.
Our dorm also had a basin (for brushing teeth and washing socks we assume) something you don’t see often. Another great thing, really showing an attention to detail by BackHome are the lockers. They are plenty big enough to store all but the largest backpack, but they also have separate shelves and alcoves within, which really make the unpacking that little bit more orderly and pleasant.
BackHome has done a really solid job of supplying plenty of distractions and activities for their guests. This is such a smart thing for hostels (and hotels) to do, as the more worthwhile activities you suggest, the more likely a guest will extend their stay. There are walking tours—their food walks here come very highly recommended and the primary food guide Fadly, who took us out for a impromptu lunch (long story) really knows his stuff. So if you’re planning on staying at BackHome, do put aside time for the food tour.
There is a shared kitchen area with complimentary coffee and so on. The hostel also sells cold drinks like water and beer, though they have quite a substantial mark-up on the cans of beer—we’re not sure if you’re allowed to BYO.
Location is excellent. You’re five minutes from Masjid Jamek station, and have some excellent eateries nearby including Santa Chapatti House across the road (breakfast) Hong Ngek just down the road (lunch) and one block to the west, on Leboh Ampang, three fantastic Indian eateries.
This is a very popular hostel, and reservations are highly recommended. If they are full, we liked the dorms at 1000 Miles Hotel right across the road (it is a hotel but has dorms on the top floor) more than here, but this is a more social hostel. Highly recommended.
Address: 30 Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, Chinatown
T: (03) 2022 0788;
Coordinates (for GPS): 101º41'52.38" E, 3º8'55.49" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 60 ringgit
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
6-bed mixed dorm, 68 ringgit for a 4-bed female dorm
|53 ringgit||53 ringgit|
|Dbl air-con share bathroom|
Ground floor, 144 ringgit for upstairs
|138 ringgit||138 ringgit|
|Quad air-con share bathroom||400 ringgit||400 ringgit|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Kuala Lumpur