I will be travelling for two months through Thailand and pretty much all of SE Asia as well (Vietnam,Laos,Cambodia) over December - January.
My question is will I be always guaranteed to get some form of accommodation if I dont pre-book ? My fear is basically that I rock up to a place and find everything is booked out !
Will be backpacking, so quality is not really an issue.
#1 Planethopper has been a member since 12/8/2012. Posts: 1
depends on your skills, fears and the actual place and time. SOME of the smaller islands in the busiest weeks (tipically 25/12-1/1) I would not really risk it-arrive very early and be prepared to walk a lot to find something-and have enough money to upgrade if needed. Large towns: no prob at all,.THis is Thai branch-so this applies to TH.
#2 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472
No absolute guarantee, but at least very likely to find somewhere to hang your hat in almost any tourist destination, even in high season. Major cities like Hanoi, HCMC, Phnom Penh, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, etc. are the easiest due to sheer numbers of rooms. The hardest would be small extremely popular islands like Ko Phi Phi which goes crazy during the Christmas/NY season (Ko Lipe is rapidly becoming similar). Then you have medium-size yet still very popular towns like Luang Prabang which seems saturated in peak season, but there are still always some rooms left if you're prepared to do some hunting. For many of the southern islands it's sometimes worth listening to touts aboard ferries advertising their rooms. Usually includes a free ride for a no-obligation look.
I think the way to go for someone like you is just not to be in a rush. Even on a backpacker's budget, you want to find a clean and friendly place to stay. You will find that the cheapest rooms frequently have no window - I just can't stand that. As the other answer states, you will be fine in the large cities/towns, but could have real problems in the small popular places (Phu Quoc Is. in Vietnam comes to mind). By not prebooking you certainly have more freedom. You don't sound like a particularly picky person (just my opposite). I do care where I stay, so I am more or less forced to prebook - I'm just a perfectionist.
By not rushing from town to town, you will enjoy yourself more. I like to make lists of places/hotels/restaurants that look interesting.