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JUMP TO: Panama Travel Itineraries | Places to Visit | Where to Stay | Travel Tips | Cost of Travel

Panama is kind of like the middle child of Central America. For some reason or another, it is often overlooked. Maybe it is because people gravitate towards its more famous and over-developed kin, Costa Rica, or maybe it’s because travelers are just overly excited to arrive into Colombia, which is understandable. Either way, not many people go backpacking in Panama.

So you may be asking yourself at this moment: “is Panama worth visiting?”

The answer is absolutely YES! In reality, Panama is one of the most surprsingly beautiful countries in all of Central America. It cannot be reduced down to a simple canal or breeding ground for money launderers; this would be an unjust condemnation of a great country.

It is our goal at The Broke Backpacker to convince you to go backpacking in Panama and we are very confident that we can succeed. Panama is full of fun things to do and absolutely gorgeous places to see.

We’ll cover a wide range of topics over the course of this article, like “backpacking Panama on a budget” and the “best beaches near Panama City.”

By the end of this Panama travel guide, you’ll be equipped with everything that you could possibly need to have an awesome time in this country. Just follow the travel advice for Panama as laid out by us and you’ll be sitting pretty, mis amigos.

Where to Go Backpacking in Panama

Panama is one of the quintessential Central American countries; complete with jungles, beaches, marine parks, plantations, and lots of parties! There are all sorts of things to do and places to see when backpacking in Panama.

We’re going to break down the best places to visit in the country soon, but before I get to that let’s talk about specific routes for backpacking Panama.

Below are a couple of itineraries meant give you some ideas. Each one is specially drafted to give you the best possible experience. Though if you wish, please feel free modify them in any way you like.

Afterward, we’re going jump into the meat of the article – the destinations – and then follow up with more specific information e.g. Costs, Food, Diving, etc.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with all of the necessary tools to go backpacking around Panama on a budget!

Best Itineraries and Routes for Backpacking Panama

Below is a list of four travel itineraries for backpacking Panama. They cover Panama City and the Azuero Peninsula, the End to End (of the country), and The Best of Panama. These vary from 1 week to 2 weeks in length and cover the majority of the best places to travel to in Panama.

Backpacking Panama 4 Day Itinerary #1: The San Blas Islands

Map of Panama not to scale.

4 Days in Panama: The San Blas Islands

If there was ever a reason to visit Panama, even just for a moment, then it would be to visit the San Blas Islands. These are among the most beautiful islands in all of Central America.

You’ll need 3 to 5 days to experience the San Blas Islands properly. This way, you’ll have plenty of time for swimming, fishing, and exploring. Remember that it takes time to sail to the San Blas Islands from Portobelo or Colombia in the first place.

Since this itinerary only visits one part of Panama, feel free to add it to the others below for a well-rounded trip.

For more information on organizing a trip to the San Blas Islands, refer to its specific summary in the Places to Visit in Panama section.

Backpacking Panama 1 Week Itinerary #2: Panama City and the Azuero Peninsula

Map of Panama not to scale.

1 Week in Panama: Panama City and the Azuero Peninsula

With only 7 days in Panama, any itinerary is going to feel a little rushed so we’re going to have to make the most of your time! This backpacking route will give you a taste of the mountains and beaches in Panama.

Start in Panama City and enjoy the pleasures of the big city. Once you’ve had your fill, move to El Valle de Anton for a little decompression and lots of nature. Finally, head south to either Playa Venao or Santa Catalina for some quality beach time.

At the end of this itinerary, you may be wishing you had more time in Panama! No worries though, amigos! You’ll be back soon and there are plenty more options when you return.

Backpacking Panama 10 Day Itinerary #3: From End to End

Map of Panama not to scale.

10 Days in Panama: From End to End

During this 10 day itinerary in Panama, you’ll get to see many of the country’s top destinations! Start at one of the end of the country and work your way across, catching glimpses of the best of Panama.

Check out Panama City and experience the new and old. Go island hopping in the Bay of Chiquiri and then visit the highlands of Boquete.

Go crazy in Bocas del Toro or, if you’re feeling a little burnt out, relax on Bastimentos, which is one of the quietest and most relaxing islands in Panama. 

Backpacking Panama 2 Week Itinerary #4: The Best of Panama

Map of Panama not to scale.

2 Weeks in Panama: The Best of Panama

This is the most complete itinerary for Panama that one can have on a standard 2-week vacation. You’ll see many of Panama’s greatest attractions, more so than any other itinerary on this list.

Bathe in the mineral waters at El Valle de Anton; dive in Santa Catalina; island hop in Chiriqui; drink coffee in Boquete; party in Bocas del Toro; all of this and more is possible on this ultimate backpacking route for Panama!

Places to Visit in Panama Backpacking Panama City

Panama City is the capital and economic center of the nation. On a larger scale, it is one of the most promising and rapidly-growing cities in all of Central America and the Caribbean. It has been likened to many of the world’s most glittering metropolises including but not limited to Dubai and Miami.

The most arresting feature of Panama City is its skyscrapers who rise quite prominently to the skies much like a jungle canopy. These are the result of huge amounts of foreign investment and business brought by the Panama Canal. The best views of the skyline are along Avenida Balboa, Accon Park, or from a rooftop bar, like Panaviera or Rooftop 62.

Panama City has two important historical quarters: Casco Viejo and Panama Viejo. Panama Viejo was one of the first settled parts of the city but now a series of ruined colonial buildings, most of which are being retaken by the jungle. Be careful when visiting this area as there are several rough neighborhoods nearby.

Casco Viejo, which was founded right after Panama Viejo, has a lot more colonial architecture and is much more integrated into the actual city.

Of course, the famous Panama Canal is located very close to the city as well. It’s an extremely important landmark, not only in Panama but the entire world, and has an interesting story.

The experience of visiting it is boring as fuck though as it’s just a giant concrete channel. Unless you’re interested in the history of the Canal, you can probably skip it.

Though the city is beautiful to look at times, it gets dull quite quickly. There are a couple of cool places in Panama City to visit (e.g. Amador Causeway, Bridge of the Americas) but once the charm wears off, you’ll want to get out ASAP.

Book Your Panama City Hostel Here

Backpacking San Blas Islands

The San Blas Islands are one of the best places to visit in Panama and all of South America for that matter,. They are simply gorgeous, ridiculously so.

Most people visit the San Blas Islands on their way from Colombia to Panama and vice versa. This means that they are, aside from being a destination in themselves, an excellent way of connecting the two countries.

Of course, you can organize a tour to the San Blas sans Columbia if you like. You can also fly to the islands but then you’ll miss half the fun.

If you want to sail to the San Blas Islands, you’ll have to reach out to a local tour company. There are several operators based in Panama City that can help you. If you want to go to the source, head to Portobelo where the docks are. You’ll probably get a better deal if you haggle here and will have a chance to inspect the boats.

Be very mindful when booking a boat and be sure to note the condition of the life jackets, kitchen, toilets, bunks, and fire extinguishers. You’re about to live on this boat for 4-5 days and safety/comfort are not always guaranteed.

Be sure to inquire if you’ll be sleeping on the boats or camping on the San Blas Islands. While staying on the boat can be ideal, sleeping on the islands can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Once you set sail for the San Blas Islands, it’s just a matter of letting go. You’ll be in paradise without a care in the world. Go for a swim, have a snorkel, chill on an abandoned beach, visit a local Kuna village, whatever. Just let the world pass you by in the San Blas.

Book Your Portobelo Hostel Here

Backpacking El Valle de Anton

Thanks to its relatively close proximity to Panama City and its stunning natural setting, El Valle de Anton is one of the best eco-retreats in Panama and a favorite getaway for locals. Situated in the heart of a caldera and surrounded by leftover volcanic monoliths on all sides, Anton is a great place to go hiking or just escape to somewhere more bucolic.

Several buses connect Anton with Panama City and the surrounding province. Once you arrive in the village, your own two feet will be enough to get around, although renting a bike will be the best form of transport.

El Valle de Anton is primarily an eco-retreat. People from all over Panama come here to reap the health benefits that the volcanoes provide.

Mud baths are popular here as is the local produce, which is thought to be superior thanks to the mineral-rich soil. There is an orchid nursery in the village as well that is particularly beautiful and one of a kind.

Some of the best outdoor activities in El Valle de Anton include visiting one of the many waterfalls and/or mountains around the village. El Macho is the most popular cascade near Anton. Some awesome mountains irresistible to trail runners and hikers would be Cerro La Silla, Cerro Cariguana, and Cerro Picacho.

Book Your El Valle de Anton Hostel

Backpacking Playa Venao

Not to be confused with the Venao, the beach very near to Panama City, this Playa Venao is located down south on the Azuero Peninsula, and is much better.

Here, like most of the Pacific Coast, there is little in the way of infrastructure, tourism, and, best of all, crowds! There is no better place to start backpacking the Panamanian coast than Playa Venao de Azuero.

To get to Playa Venao, travelers must first get to Pedasi and then grab a local minibus. Upon arriving in Venao, you will be dropped off in the town, which may or may not look empty. If it’s empty, great! Welcome to the real Panama, the one that is devoid of geriatrics and shitty tourists.

The town of Playa Venao, like most Panamanian towns on the Pacific Coast, is pretty sleepy. There are a couple of (overpriced) markets around the village and several restaurants. Also, like the rest of the west coast, there is not a whole lot to do here besides lay on the beach and maybe surf a bit.

The actual beach of Playa Venao is quite long and shaped like a large crescent moon. It’s a good beach and there should be no problem finding a quiet spot.

The bay picks up pretty good surf and the breaks have gained quite a reputation among the community. Rent a board at a local hotel or shop around and give it a shot. If you’re feeling a bit timid, there are stand-up paddle boards available as well.

Don’t forget to check out the small waterfall located very close to Venao. A little freshwater bathing will do you good.

Book Your Playa Venao Hostel Here

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JUMP TO : Cairns Cost of Travel | Where to Stay | Things to Do | Travel Itinerary | Travel Tips

Cairns is one of the most popular places in Australia for both backpacker and natives alike. Few other Australian destinations can compete with the sheer amount of adventure that Cairns offers!

Sandwiched between the idyllic Atherton Tablelands, rugged Daintree, and otherworldly Great Barrier Reef, there’s something to do in every direction.

Go waterfall hunting in Atherton; hunt for the exotic cassowary in the Daintree; go skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef! All of this and much more is possible if you go backpacking in Cairns.

As an Australian city, Cairns isn’t a cheap destination. If you go out every night, spend money on tours without checking prices/shopping around, and eat out every day, you’ll run through your budget faster than you can say kangaroo.

If you’re going to be backpacking around Cairns, you’re going to have to be a smart broke backpacker, equipped with the right sort of tools…

But never fear: Cairns can be affordable! We have written this budget travel guide for Cairns, so that you can save a buck or two.

In addition to itineraries, nightlife suggestions, transportation advice, and more, everything you need to know about traveling in Cairns is covered in this guide; read on, and you’ll be more than prepared to go backpacking in Cairns affordably.

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How Much does Backpacking Cairns Cost?

If there’s one thing that Queensland, Australia has going for it, it’s that it is affordable! No more $10 beers and ridiculously overpriced hostel beds. Cairns can be very cheap, perhaps the cheapest place you can visit while backpacking Australia!

The average daily budget for Cairns will be about $45-$60 per day. This will get you a dorm bed, grocery money, a bit of wine, and extra spending money for activities. With the right spending habits, the cost of travel in Cairns can be even less, though you’ll have to be a dedicated Broke Backpacker to do this.

Accommodation is notably inexpensive in Cairns; even apartments and AirBnBs will be affordable for shoestring backpackers. Food prices are manageable, so long as you cook at home much more frequently than eat at restaurants.

Since there are so many travelers in Cairns, there are many, many backpacker bars that offer special deals. As such, Cairns will be one of the cheapest places to party in Australia!

The greatest expenses in Cairns will be the organized activities e.g. the Great Barrier Reef and skydiving. Pick and choose which activities you must do. To save money, shop around and find the best deal. Some companies, specifically those that go to the Reef, offer discounted rates at the last second to fill up surplus seats.

Below is a breakdown of the average costs of travel in Cairns.

Cairns Daily Budget Breakdown

Hostel Dormitory: $15-$20

Basic room for two: $100

AirBnB/temp apartment: $80

Average cost of public transport: $3

City-Airport transfer: $15-$30

Sandwich: $7-$9

Beer at a bar: $5-$8

Coffee: $3-$4

Bottle of wine from the market: $2-$8

Dinner for two: $35-$45

Cairns Budget Backpacking Tips

There are plenty of ways to save cash while traveling in Cairns! With the proper spending habits, Cairns can be cheap; just follow the tips in this travel guide for Cairns!

Below is a list of tips for backpacking in Cairns on a budget. Follow these words of advice and you’ll find that your dollar goes much further.

  1. Always pre-fade before going out: Buying full-priced drinks at the bar is a great way to waste your money. Instead, buy booze at the store and drink with your friends at the hostel/their house/the park/anywhere besides the actual bar. Drink lots of store-bought wine; it’s freakin’ cheaper than water sometimes!
  2. Cook at home as often as possible: One of the most proven ways to save money; buying your own groceries and cooking at home will save you heaps of cash.
  3. Eat/drink during happy hour: Many bars and cafes offer drink and meal specials during the quieter hours of the day (4pm-6pm). Some of these deals can be quite affordable; even the locals use them!
  4. Get a job: Whether or not you have a working holiday visa there are plenty of opportunities to find backpack jobs in Cairns. Many hostels will give you a free bed in exchange for a few hours of labor. Refer to our backpacking Australia guide for more on working in Australia.
  5. Do free shit: There are a ton of attractions in Cairns that don’t charge you any sort of entrance fee! None of these are dull or boring either. Check out any of these free things to do in Cairns while visiting.

Where to Stay in Cairns

This town is practically run by backpackers and there are heaps of hostels in Cairns! In the alleys, on top of the bars, between the cafes, everywhere you look there is a backpacker lodge.

The hostels in Cairns can be dirt cheap but they can also be very mangy, practically third world at times. Be aware of how much you are willing to pay for and what you’re getting yourself into.

Many hostels offer discounts to long-term inhabitants. These deals usually cater backpackers with a working holiday visa. Staying at a hostel for a long period of time could be an awesome experience as everyone really gets to know each other, and the camaraderie is really fantastic.

Other working holidayers opt to stay in an apartment. Since Cairns is so much cheaper than most Australian cities, many backpackers can actually afford their own room or even a flat with their paycheck.

Check the local classifieds, like Gumtree, or check your hostel’s bulletin board – many backpackers start in a hostel and end up moving into their own place.

To save the most money, you can, of course, reach out to potential hosts via couchsurfing. Australians are an extremely hospitable bunch and love to host unsuspecting visitors. Be sure to follow all the usual courtesies and rules of staying with a stranger though.

Below, you’ll find a brief breakdown of the top three hostels from our best hostels in Cairns guide.

Overall Best Hostel in Cairns – Traveller’s Oasis

This hostel was voted the best hostel in Australia in 2018 by Hostelwrold! This backpacker hostel in Cairns seemingly has it all: a swimming pool, spotless facilities, a great kitchen, and excellent staff.

There’s really not much to say about this place except that it’s amazing and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Did we mention you can park your car or camper here for free as well?!

Check for Best Price

Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Cairns – Globetrotters International

Globetrotters is the best hostel in Cairns for backpackers to meet other backpackers, thanks to the hostel’s friendly setting and well-organized social events.

The lodge hosts two communal BBQs each week, which is a godsend for solo backpackers looking to meet other travelers. Nothing creates lasting friendships like fire and sizzling meats. The rest of the hostel is well kept, and there’s little here that should irk travelers.

Check for Best Price

Best Party Hostel in Cairns – Calypso Inn

The Calypso is the best party hostel in Cairns for one reason: the Zanzibar. This onsite shitshow pumps out tunes and goodtimes like clockwork, and consistently puts backpackers into their early graves, in a good way of course.

The parties here can be wild and for those looking for a party will find the Calypso Inn is irresistible. There’s a swimming pool and pool table as well that make for great hangover kick it spots.

Check for Best Price

Top Things to Do in Cairns 1. Dive at the Great Barrier Reef

One of the greatest sights in the entire world; the Great Barrier Reef is must-do while backpacking in Cairns!

2. Chase waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands

Queensland’s own Arcadia! Go looking for paradiscal waterfalls and then chill at local winery afterwards.

3. Go skydiving

Cairns has some of the cheapest skydiving rates in Australia! For the curious, this is no better time to try out this thrilling activity.

Skydive above the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns - YouTube

4. Have a wild night at the bars in Cairns

The nightlife in Cairns can get pretty crazy sometimes. Join the thirsty travelers and set aside a night for debauchery!

5. Visit the Daintree Rainforest

The oldest rainforest in the world deserves your attention. Go for a walk in the woods and look out for local wildlife.

6. Roadtrip to Cape Tribulation

After you’ve seen the Daintree, keep heading north to see some of the best beaches in Australia!

7. Go bungee jumping in the jungle

Bungee jumping is another relatively affordable activity in Cairns that is very popular with backpackers. The drops are some of the most impressive in Australia as well.

8. Catch the Kuranda Express

Ride the train for a relaxing afternoon and a chance to stare at impressive landscapes and engineering.

9. Chill at the Esplanade and grill

If you’re feeling crook from the night out before, just lounge by the artificial lagoon by the esplanade. There are plenty of grills around for a communal BBQ as well.

10. Explore Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy is a gem of an island not to far away from Cairns. Catch the ferry and wandering around here!

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Singapore is one of the most fascinating, gorgeous, and cleanest cities on the planet. Expect a city with some of the world’s most interesting architecture and incredible foods… but don’t expect to have it to yourself.

Singapore was the 5th most visited city in the world in 2017, and with hundreds of accommodation choices, it can be difficult choosing where to stay. Which is exactly why I wrote this guide of the best hostels in Singapore.

Whether you are spending some time in the city or moving on to backpacking Malaysia, I’ve taken into consideration various traveler needs and organized this list so you can identify what you need, and book your hostel confidently.

Then you can focus on what matters, adventuring in Singapore (and eating as much Laksa as you can).

Quick Answer: Best Hostels in Singapore

This is The Broke Backpackers Ultimate list of the best hostels in Singapore

What to look for in the Best Hostels in Singapore

Different travelers require different things, so I did my best by organizing the hostels into different categories. What matters to you? Privacy? Low price? Partying? Getting work done as a Digital Nomad? Whatever you need, this list of the 24 best hostels in Singapore has got you. Some other determinants…

  • Location – But not really. Sure, it’s nice to be close to the things you want to see, but with one of the finest public transit systems on the planet, getting around Singapore is an absolute breeze.
  • Price – By Southeast Asian standards Singapore is definitely pricey. Having said that, eating and sights can be done super cheap which can bring down your overall costs.
  • Amenities – Singapore hostels are super cool. Tons of freebies, and most importantly – free breakfast! Not all hostels offer this, but most do. This adds up, so keep an eye out for it.
Psst! Heading to a hostel? Don’t forget to pack a padlock! It’s well worth having one so you can secure your locker and protect your stuff!
HOSTEL DETAILS
Overall Best Hostel in SingaporeOverall Best Hostel in SingaporeDream Lodge
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Self Catering Facilities
Check Best Price
Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in SingaporeBest Hostel for Solo Travelers in SingaporeWink Capsule Hostel
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
Check Best Price
Best Cheap Hostel in SingaporeBest Cheap Hostel in SingaporeHappy Snail Hostel
  • $
  • Microwave for Self Catering
  • Laundry Facilities
  • $
  • Microwave for Self Catering
  • Laundry Facilities
Check Best Price
Best Hostel for Couples in SingaporeBest Hostel for Couples in SingaporeCube Hostel
  • $$$
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
  • Tours & Travel Desk
  • $$$
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
  • Tours & Travel Desk
Check Best Price
Best Party Hostel in SingaporeBest Party Hostel in SingaporeThe Bohemian Chic
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Airport Shuttle (twice daily)
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Airport Shuttle (twice daily)
Check Best Price
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in SingaporeBest Hostel for Digital Nomads in SingaporeCOO Boutique Hostel
  • $$$
  • Bar & Restaurants Onsite
  • Laundry Facilities
  • $$$
  • Bar & Restaurants Onsite
  • Laundry Facilities
Check Best Price
Best Hostel with a Private Room in SingaporeBest Hostel with a Private Room in SingaporeGreen Kiwi Backpackers
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Tours & Travel Desk
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Tours & Travel Desk
Check Best Price
The 24 Best Hostels in Singapore Overall Best Hostel in Singapore – Dream Lodge

Dream Lodge Hostel is our over top hostel in Singapore

  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Free Lockers

The overall best hostel in Singapore is Dream Lodge for it is super chilled, friendly and ideally placed between 3 MRT stations connecting you to all of Singapore. Easily the best hostel in Singapore in 2018, Dream Lodge offers guests free breakfast and is right next door to an awesome selection of hipster cafes and classic Singaporean food halls. Dream Lodge’s beds are super comfy and they spoil backpackers with not one, but TWO pillows. Extra points for the beds being pod style for a little extra privacy.

Check for Best Price Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Singapore – Wink Capsule Hostel

Wink Capsule is one of the best hostels for solo travellers in Singapore

  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite

The best hostel for solo travellers in Singapore is Wink Capsule Hostel; with a bar and cafe onsite there are plenty of opportunities for solo nomads to meet new friends. Of an evening be sure to head to the guest kitchen as this is where you’ll find most people hanging out before they start exploring Singapore’s nightlife scene. Wink is a top hostel in Singapore for backpackers of all kinds and they’ve teamed boutique style with a cool hostel vibe for a decent price in an expensive city.

Check for Best Price Best Cheap Hostel in Singapore #1 – Happy Snail Hostel

Happy Snail is one of the best cheap hostels in Singapore

  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Microwave for Self Catering
  • Laundry Facilities

Happy Snail hostel is the best cheap hostel in Singapore as they offer not only the cheapest dorm rooms in the city but a free breakfast too, giving guests the best value for money. Happy Snail is a cosy hostel with super fast WiFi, 100 mbps! If you’re heading to Singapore on a visa run and need to get online to sort flights or travel plans Happy Snail is ideal. The team are incredibly helpful and can hook you up with free walking tours of Singapore. Happy Snail is a great budget hostel in Singapore if you’re watching the pennies.

Check for Best Price Best Cheap Hostel in Singapore #2 – The InnCrowd Backpackers

The InnCrowd Backpackers Hostel is another one of the best cheap hostels in Singapore!

  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Bar Onsite

As one of the most popular youth hostels in Singapore The InnCrowd books up fast, so be sure to secure your bed well in advance. They are the only hostel in Singapore to get the seal of approval from the Singapore Tourism Board; these guys are top notch. If you’re looking for discounted access to Singapore’s best tourist attractions the team at the tours and travel desk are the ones to talk to. What makes the InnCrowd one of the coolest hostels in Singapore is the free kick scooter tour of the city they offer to all guests. Great fun!

Check for Best Price Best Cheap Hostel in Singapore #3 Tree in Lodge

The Tree Lodge is eco-friendly, making it one of the coolest cheap hostels in Singapore.

  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Laundry Facilities

Tree in Lodge is the best hostel in Singapore for the eco-conscious backpacker. They actively encourage travellers to recycle as much as possible, as well as only using eco-friendly cleaning products and energy efficient electrical appliances. If you don’t meet your dorm mates in your room you’ll definitely find them in the games room or perhaps the outdoor terrace. Within a short walk of Tree in Lodge, you’ll find a great selection of kopi-tiams, traditional coffee shops.

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One of the more popular cities for backpackers in Europe, Amsterdam is more than it’s famed red light district and has a little bit of something for everyone.

But being a popular travel destination, there are literally thousands of hotels and hostels, which make it a bit overwhelming to find the best fit for you and your travel needs.

Which is exactly why I made this list of the 30 best hostels in Amsterdam.

Organized by YOUR travel needs, this guide will help you weed through the best hostels in Amsterdam, so you can confidently book your spot and get back to what matters – exploring Amsterdam!

Let’s take a look at the 30 best hostels in Amsterdam.

Quick answer: The best hostels in Amsterdam

Welcome to our kick ass guide to the best hostels in Amsterdam 2018

How to Find the Best Hostels in Amsterdam

The ‘best’ hostel will vary by person and will vary depending on what you need from your hostel. Whether you need a cheap hostel, a place to work, a private bed for you and your significant other or anything in between, we’ve got you covered! Let’s look at some of the other aspects that helped us put this list together…

  • Location – There are some decent deals outside of the city centre, but it doesn’t quite feel the same as staying in the actual Dutch capital. Having said that, if you do stay a bit outside the city you’ll see that Amsterdam isn’t too massive a city, and getting around by public transportation is a breeze.
  • Price – Get ready, cuz Amsterdam is expensive as hell. At $80 a day, Price of Travel puts Amsterdam at the tenth most expensive city in Europe… and it’s hard to argue with those numbers. If you can navigate away from the red light district and keep partying to a low, you can get away with $60 a day… but you have to carefully choose where you eat… speaking of which…
  • Amenities – One of the best ways to save money on traveling (and #70 on this) is to find hostels that include breakfast. This has literally saved me thousands over the course of years, and there are a few hostels on this list that do provide free brekkie (or some other amenities like towels or lockers). These little freebies can add up… especially in Western Europe.

For more inspiration on finding the perfect accomodation, check out our guide on where to stay in Amsterdam!

Psst! Heading to a hostel? Don’t forget to pack a padlock! It’s well worth having one so you can secure your locker and protect your stuff!
HOSTEL DETAILS
Overall Best Hostel in AmsterdamOverall Best Hostel in AmsterdamClickNOORD
  • $$
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
  • $$
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
Check Best Price
Best Hostels for Solo Travellers in AmsterdamBest Hostels for Solo Travellers in AmsterdamStayOKAY Amsterdam Vondelpark
  • $$
  • Cafe, Bar & Restaurant
  • Onsite Pool Table
  • $$
  • Cafe, Bar & Restaurant
  • Onsite Pool Table
Check Best Price
Best Cheap Hostel in AmsterdamBest Cheap Hostel in AmsterdamFlying Pig Beach Hostel
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • City Shuttle Transport
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • City Shuttle Transport
Check Best Price
Best Hostels for Couples in AmsterdamBest Hostels for Couples in AmsterdamCocomama
  • $$$
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Bicycle Hire
  • $$$
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Bicycle Hire
Check Best Price
Best Party Hostels in AmsterdamBest Party Hostels in AmsterdamFlying Pig Downtown
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
Check Best Price
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in AmsterdamBest Hostel for Digital Nomads in AmsterdamVia Amsterdam
  • $
  • Pool Table
  • Personal Lockers for Each Guest
  • $
  • Pool Table
  • Personal Lockers for Each Guest
Check Best Price
Best Hostel with a Private Room in AmsterdamBest Hostel with a Private Room in AmsterdamA&O Amsterdam Zuidoost
  • $$
  • Vending Machines
  • Laundry Facilities
  • $$
  • Vending Machines
  • Laundry Facilities
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30 Best Hostels in Amsterdam Overall Best Hostel in Amsterdam – ClickNOORD

One of the best hostels in Europe of 2018 – ClickNOORD has got it all

  • $$
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
  • Tours & Travel Desk

There is no questioning why ClickNOORD is one of best hostels in Amsterdam in 2018 – it really does have it all. The ClickNOORD team know exactly what backpackers to Amsterdam want to experience and make sure everyone who visits has the time of their lives. Highly reviewed, ClickNOORD runs themed events almost every night, the perfect opportunity to meet fellow travellers and make memories. From solo traveller meetups to cocktail making classes to live music and DJ nights. ClickNOORD caters to all travellers, the library and workspace are especially perfect for Digital Nomads.

Check for Best Price Best Hostels for Solo Travellers in Amsterdam – StayOKAY Amsterdam Vondelpark

On site cafe and phenomenal location – StayOKAY is a top hostel in Amsterdam

  • $$
  • Cafe, Bar & Restaurant
  • Onsite Pool Table
  • Tours & Travel Desk

Easily the best hostel for solo travellers in Amsterdam is StayOK Vondelpark. You’ll find StayOKAY Vondelpark within an easy walking distance of Amsterdam central and major sights and attractions like the Van Gogh Museum as well as the Rijksmuseum. To top it off StayOKAY Vondelpark is super close to the famous party district of Leidseplein. The onsite brasseries called Bite and Drink is the perfect place for solo travellers to connect and get to know one another. StayOKAY Vondelpark is a top hostel in Amsterdam for solo travellers looking to meet and mingle.

Check for Best Price Youth Hostel MeetingPoint

While pricey, Youth Hostel MeetingPoint is one of the best hostels in Amsterdam for solo travelers

  • $$$
  • Free City Tour
  • Bar & Cafe Onsite
  • Pool Table

Youth Hostel MeetingPoint is a great Amsterdam backpackers hostel, especially if you only need a place to rest your head. There is a cafe & bar onsite in case you fancy a lazy morning but with the Red Light District and other Amsterdam must-see spots within a 2-minute walk, you’ll hardly be in the building! Be sure to join onto Youth Hostel MeetingPoint’s free tour of the city, a great way to learn about Amsterdam’s rich history and to find your feet before you start exploring solo.

Check for Best Price Hostelle

  • $$$
  • Female Only
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Bicycle Hire

Hostelle is the best hostel for solo travellers in Amsterdam, specifically solo female travellers. Sorry guys, this hostel is strictly gals only! With super fluffy pillows and ultra comfy beds, girls you’ll never want to leave Hostelle, that’s for sure! The guest kitchen is a great place to meet your fellow nomadic sistas and in the summer the outdoor terrace is perfect for watching the sunset and the moon rise. Hostelle is one of the coolest hostels in Amsterdam as the interior has been painted by local artists and is impressive to say the least.

Check for Best Price Best Cheap Hostel in Amsterdam #1 – Flying Pig Beach Hostel

Cheap beds and free breakfast make Flying Pig the best cheap hostel in Amsterdam

  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • City..
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Bangkok. The name of the city is enough for any veteran backpacker to take a big trip down memory lane. But backpackers aren’t alone. With nearly 20 million visitors a year, Forbes recently named Bangkok the world’s most travelled-to city, edging out London, Paris and Singapore.

With that sort of tourism-volume, the amount of accommodation options in Bangkok is nothing short of overwhelming (nearly 400 registered hostels!).

Having spent ample time travelling through Thailand, this is exactly why I made this list of the best hostels in Bangkok, so you can see the highest reviewed properties, based on YOUR needs.

I’ve broken down the hostels, category by category, so you can confidently pick your hostel and get to what matters – experiencing the craziness of Bangkok!

So first things first. Before you drink a few Thai buckets. Before you eat a cricket on the street. Let’s look at the 20 best hostels in Bangkok.

Quick answer: The best hostels in Bangkok

What to look for to find the best hostels in Bangkok

Obviously, the ‘best’ anything is 100% up for debate, but when I travel in hostels, there are a few things I like to keep an eye out for. But having spent plenty of time in Bangkok, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what to look for.

  1. Location – Bangkok is f**king huge, and the public transport is OK at best. Be it the nightlife, the temples, or the food, try and figure out the parts of the city you are interested in seeing and get close-ish to it.
  2. Price – By international standards, Bangkok is cheap, and by Thai standards, it’s sliiigghhtly expensive. Price of Travel puts Bangkok at $25 a day, but if you don’t drink you can certainly do it for less. If you want to splurge, options are available, but you should never NEED to spend more than $10 on a hostel (and you can spend much less).
  3. Amenities – Free Wifi is universal – the only thing that will fluctuate is the quality of the connection. Aside from that keep an eye out for #70 on my list of travel lessons – if they serve ‘free breakfast’!
Psst! Heading to a hostel? Don’t forget to pack a padlock! It’s well worth having one so you can secure your locker and protect your stuff!
HOSTEL DETAILS
Overall Best Hostel BangkokOverall Best Hostel BangkokDiff Hostel
  • $$
  • Free breakfast
  • Free security lockers
  • $$
  • Free breakfast
  • Free security lockers
Check Best Price
Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in BangkkBest Hostel for Solo Travelers in BangkkGood ‘uck Hostel at Silom Bangkok
  • $
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Café and bar
  • $
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Café and bar
Check Best Price
Best Cheap Hostel in BangkokBest Cheap Hostel in BangkokBaan Gaysorn
  • $
  • Free breakfast
  • No curfew
  • $
  • Free breakfast
  • No curfew
Check Best Price
Best Hostel for Couples in BangkokBest Hostel for Couples in BangkokRoom@Vipa
  • $$
  • Free breakfast
  • $$
  • Free breakfast
Check Best Price
Best Party Hostel in BangkokBest Party Hostel in BangkokPlayground Hostel
  • $
  • BBQ and drinking games
  • Café
  • $
  • BBQ and drinking games
  • Café
Check Best Price
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in BangkokBest Hostel for Digital Nomads in BangkokCubic Bangkok
  • $
  • Free breakfast
  • Common room
  • $
  • Free breakfast
  • Common room
Check Best Price
Best Hostel with a Private Room in BangkokBest Hostel with a Private Room in BangkokNiras Bangkoc Cultural House
  • $
  • Bicycle parking
  • Free breakfast
  • $
  • Bicycle parking
  • Free breakfast
Check Best Price
The Best Hostels in Bangkok

Finding a good hostel in Bangkok isn’t that tough since it is literally a backpacker ghetto – the challenge is finding a GOOD one. So, here is a list of some of the best hostels in Bangkok based on what they offer, so you find at least one (or maybe 4) that suits you and makes your travel planning easy.

Overall Best Hostel in Bangkok – Diff Hostel

Great vibes, gorgeous design at a decent price – Diff hostel is our top hostel in Bangkok for 2018

  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Security Lockers

This one’s definitely a great catch (though maybe slightly on the higher end of your budget). Diff Hostel is located right in the heart of Bangkok and its location lets you get around quite easily. The working staff are great and the hostel itself is pretty cozy. In particular the design of the hostel is gorgeous, and with free breakfast and free towels, Diff Hosteel gives you a lot of bang for your buck and is clearly one of the best hostels in Bangkok. 

Check for Best Price Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Bangkok – Good’ uck Hostel at Silom Bangkok

With a great location and on-site bar, Good ‘uck hostel is one of the best hostels in Thailand

  • $
  • Rooftop Terrace
  • Café and Bar

If you can ride a scooter (the cheapest way to get around in Thailand), great for you. If not, you want to be at a place which is just always 10 minutes from the hustle and bustle of the city. Good’ uck is! And, if you want to spend a crazy night (is there any other kind?), get a couple of beers at the hostel bar and then head straight to the forbidden streets of Patpong, Good’ uck is the best hostel in Bangkok for solo travelers.

Check for Best Price Best Cheap Hostel in Bangkok #1 – Baan Gaysorn Hostel

Great location and super cheap, Baan Gaysorn is one of the best cheap hostels in Bangkok.

  • $
  • Free City Maps
  • 1 minute walk to closest BTS Station

Don’t let the elaborate interiors of this 100-year-old traditional Thai home turned hostel fool you! It’s among the best budget hostels in Bangkok and as cozy as they get. Plus, it’s within perfect distance from the loud streets and nightlife, so you can take a quick Skytrain to wherever you want to go or enjoy some peace and quiet.

Check for Best Price Best Cheap Hostel in Bangkok #2 – Revolution Hostel Asoke

Brand new with two bars, Revolution is another one of the best cheap hostels in Bangkok for the budget category.

  • $
  • Outdoor Terrace
  • Bar and Café

This one is new and probably here to stay. With all the colourful bean bags scattered around their lounge area and the amazing deals they give you for a couple of bucks, it could easily be rated as the best hostel in Bangkok in 2018. Like one café and bar isn’t enough already, they have TWO, so grab all the Changs you want and eat all the Papaya Salad and Pad Thai you can eat.

Check for Best Price Best Hostel for Couples in Bangkok – ROOM@Vipa

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Seoul is one of those cities that seems to fly under the radar.

Bangkok, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore – these are the Asian cities most Westerners think of visiting in Asia… but Seoul should absolutely be on your list as well.

It’s one of the coolest cities when backpacking or traveling to Asia, which is exactly why I made the list of the 20 best hostels in Seoul.

But with 25 million residents and thousands of accommodation choices, it can be overwhelming for backpackers to know where to stay, which is exactly why I made this list of the 20 best hostels in Seoul.

I organize each hostel into different travel-categories, so you can identify what your specific needs are, and book your hostel with confidence, so you can focus on eating kimchi, and visiting princess restaurants and racoon cafes. 

Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Seoul

Welcome to the future, Seoul is a top backpacking destination of 2018

What to Look for in the Best Hostels in Seoul

The tenth most visited city in the world, Seoul is known for its love for electronics, fast wifi, and deliciously spicy food. With so many interesting things to see, Seoul is a backpacker’s paradise, and a great base point to see many of South Korea’s other underrated destinations. Seoul is interesting, fun and very, very affordable.

Here are some things to keep in mind while trying to backpack Seoul on a budget…

  • Price – Somewhere in between the price of Tokyo and Bangkok lies Seoul. Food can be super cheap, but shopping and late night’s out is what can quickly break your bank. Seoul can be done on $30 but $40 a day will give you a bit more breathing room.
  • Location – Seoul is absolutely enormous. If you have any specific sights you wish to see, try and find a hostel near, but if you can’t don’t panic. Seoul has arguably the best public transportation system on the planet, so you’ll be able to get anywhere you need quickly and cheaply.
  • Amenities  – My favorite hostel hack (and #70 on this list) is finding free breakfast. Thankfully a majority of the best hostels in Seoul offer free breakfast. Also, keep an eye out for any hostels that have free laundry facilities.
Psst! Heading to a hostel? Don’t forget to pack a padlock! It’s well worth having one so you can secure your locker and protect your stuff!
The 20 Best Hostels in Seoul

You might struggle to understand Seoul’s official marketing slogan—I Seoul U—but luckily, finding a terrific hostel in Seoul is easy. We’ve done the legwork for you, finding the best hostels in the South Korean capital and breaking them down into different types so you can be sure that you book a Seoul hostel that’s just right for you.

Overall Best Hostel in Seoul – Bunk Guest House

With a great price and endless amenities, Bunk Guest was an easy choice for best hostel in Seoul for 2018

• $$
• Free Breakfast
• Laundry Facilities
• Bicycle Rentals

A cool hostel in Seoul, Bunk Guest House is in the life and Seoul of the city: Hongdae. It may be quieter in the low season, but during the high season, it springs to life, with Korean BBQs and other fun parties on the roof terrace. Visit Seoul’s most popular places on a range of tours or grab a free city map and explore independently; public transport is close to hand. Secure and safe, Bunk Guest House has a communal kitchen with everything you need to cook up a feast, a chilled-out lounge, a hot tub, and a steam room. Breakfast and Wi-Fi are included and bicycles are available to rent. There are so many reasons why it’s the best hostel in Seoul in 2018.

Check for Best Price Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Seoul – ZZZIP Guesthouse

Plenty of freebies, ZZZIP is one of the best hostels in Seoul for solo travelers

• $$
• Free Breakfast
• Free Tea and Coffee
• Discount Vouchers

A reasonably priced hostel with mixed and female-only dorms, the freebies at ZZZIP Guesthouse help to shave even more off the costs of visiting Seoul. Tuck into an included breakfast before heading out with your free city map, and come back to free tea and coffee. Keep your Instagram feed interesting thanks to the free Wi-Fi. Enjoy discounts to some of Seoul’s hottest attractions, including Lotte World and Dragon Hill and soak up the energy in nearby Hongdae. Indoor and outdoor seating are available, and there’s a shared kitchen and a book exchange. Providing a perfect balance, ZZZIP is among the best hostels in Seoul for solo travellers who want to combine mingling and lone time.

Check for Best Price Best Cheap Hostel in Seoul #1 – Backpackers Inside

Great location and a solid price – Backpackers Inside is one of the best cheap hostels in Seoul

• $
• Single Sex Dorms
• Steam Room
• Games Room

The award-winning Backpackers Inside isn’t only one of the coolest hostels in Seoul, but it’s also among the most affordable for broke backpackers. Dorms are single gender. Situated in Daehangno, shopping, culture, and history is almost on the doorstep. Facilities include a well-equipped kitchen, a games room with a PlayStation, Wii, and good old-fashioned board games, a washing machine, steam room, book exchange, and free Wi-Fi. The atmosphere is peaceful and calm so you’re sure of a good night’s sleep at this best budget hostel in Seoul.

Check for Best Price Best Cheap Hostel in Seoul #2 – Whitetail Backpacker and Hostel

Whitetail Backpackers is another fine cheap hostel in Seoul.

• $
• Free Breakfast
• PlayStation
• Book Exchange

A top budget youth hostel in Seoul, Whitetail Backpacker and Hostel is run by keen travellers who are switched on to the various needs of today’s modern explorers. The clean and safe hostel is located in a quiet residential area, yet is only a ten-minute walk from popular Hongdae. In addition to free Wi-Fi there are also public computers that you can use and lockers to keep all your devices and other important stuff safe. The large common room is good for both finding a quiet spot to get some work done and mingling with other travellers.

Check for Best Price Best Cheap Hostel in Seoul #3 – Sweet Comfort

Sweet Comfort tops our list of the best cheap hostels in Seoul!

• $
• Inclusive Breakfast
• Luggage Storage
• Bike Parking

A relative newcomer to Seoul’s hostel scene, Sweet Comfort is, as the name implies, a comfy and cosy base from which to explore some of Seoul’s most happening neighbourhoods. Hongdae’s numerous entertainment and leisure options are just a short skip away, and the rest of sprawling Seoul is easily reached by public transport. A filling and free breakfast each morning, free Wi-Fi, lockers, cable TV, self-catering amenities, and more little extras really do make your stay here comfortable.

Check for Best Price Best Hostel for Couples in Seoul – Seoul Dalbit

With an enchanting moon and nighttime theme, Seoul Dalbit is a great hostel for couples

• $$
• Included Breakfast
• Key Card Access
• Tour Desk

One of the best hostels in Seoul for couples seeking a little starry-eyed romance, Seoul Dalbit has an enchanting moon and nighttime theme. Join in with tours and parties or do your own lovebird thing. Solo travellers will also feel at ease here; there are various en-suite private rooms to choose from, each with a TV and devices to access the internet, as well as female-only dorms. Fill up each morning on the free breakfast, chill with a glass of soju in the common room, and save money by cooking your own meals in the kitchen.

Check for Best Price Best Party Hostel in Seoul – Time Travelers Party Hostel In Hongdae

Time Travelers Hostel is a party hostel you won’t forget, and one of the best party hostels in Seoul in 2018

• $$
• 24-Hour Reception
• Onsite Bar and Café
• Pool Table

Located in lively Hongdae, this is, true to its name, one of the best hostels in..

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Most backpackers traveling around Thailand and exploring the Andaman Islands will inevitably pass through the largest of the islands, Phuket.

Phuket is now home to many locals and expats alike. You can expect plenty of creature comforts, beautiful beaches, and a raging nightlife that would please any backpacker on the search for bucket beers.

But there is so much more to Phuket than touristy bars that cater to backpackers.

This island offers a piece of paradise for everyone, but with over 100 villages to explore, it’s best to have an idea of where to stay in Phuket beforehand.

Moreover, this is one of Thailand’s largest islands, covering 539 square kilometers. Public transportation is unreliable, so it’s best to pick a base or two for your travels.

Our guide will breakdown Phuket island based on various travel interests, such as beaches, nightlife, local hangouts, and more.

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Phuket
  • Where to stay in Phuket first time – Phuket Town
  • Where to stay in Phuket on a budget – Karon
  • Best area to stay in Phuket for nightlife – Patong
  • Coolest place to stay in Phuket – Kata
  • Best Place to Stay in Phuket for families – Kamala

Where to Stay in Phuket

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Phuket. Make sure to check out our post on the best hostels in Phuket too!

Traveling with a group?  Book an apartment and check out our Airbnb post for a 35% discount!

Best Hostel in Phuket: GandM Hostel

GandM Hostel is the best budget accommodation option in Phuket. Conveniently located near Bangla Road, this hostel is situated at the heart of Phuket’s notorious nightlife scene.

Just a few steps from Phuket’s best bars, clubs, and restaurants, you can’t get any closer to the action. Enjoy hot showers, comfortable beds, and a great atmosphere at this Patong Beach hostel.

View on HostelWorld Best Hotel in Phuket: OneLoft Hotel

OneLoft Hotel is the perfect place to make your home away from home in Phuket. These comfortable and contemporary lofts offer basic cooking facilities, free wifi, and relaxing accommodations.

Conveniently located in Karon, this hotel boasts amazing views and 5-star luxury at a fraction of the price.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined     View on Agoda Best Airbnb in Phuket: Luxury Room & Rooftop Pool with Phuket City Views

Enjoy amazing views and modern amenities in this luxury condo in Phuket Town. Located on the 11th floor, this contemporary condo offers guests a king sized bed, colorful décor, and a comfortable living space.

With free wifi, two swimming pools and a fitness center, you won’t find a better Airbnb in Phuket.

View on Airbnb Phuket Regional Guide

Phuket is a province in southern Thailand that lies in the Andaman Sea. Comprised of 33 islands, the province covers more than 575 square kilometres. The largest of the islands, Phuket, is home to a variety of exciting attractions, magnificent beaches and unforgettable experiences.

Less than 400,000 people call the province of Phuket home. Each year thousands flock to Phuket to enjoy the regions pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters and indulge in the areas infamous nightlife.

The province of Phuket is divided into three districts and 17 subdistricts. Within these districts and subdistricts, there are more than 100 unique villages to see and explore.

To experience the best of Phuket, we recommend each trip include visits to three or four villages, depending on the purpose of your trip.

Starting at the centre of Phuket’s west coast you have the village of Kamala. Ideal for young couples or families with children, Kamala is where you’ll find gorgeous and peaceful beaches, and paradise year-round. We’ll cover why Kamala is one of the best places to stay in Phuket below.

South of Kamala is Patong, the most popular tourist destination in Phuket. Home to Thailand’s (and Asia’s) most famous nightlife scene, here you’ll find a good selection of bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Continuing south along the coast you’ll pass through the villages of Karon and Kata.

Less hectic than Patong, both of these small communities boast spectacular beaches, delicious restaurants, and unbeatable views.

Finally, heading towards northeast from Karon you have Phuket Town. The largest town in the province, Phuket Town is home to a number of attractions, great shopping and appetizing restaurants.

Still not sure where to stay in Phuket? Not to worry. Read on as we break down the must-sees from the top five villages in Phuket.

5 Best Areas to Stay in Phuket

The largest of Thailand’s islands, Phuket covers 539 square kilometres. Public transportation is very limited, with taxis and tuk-tuks being the only practical options.

The vast majority of tuk-tuks and taxis don’t have meters, so we recommend that you negotiate and agree to a price before starting your journey.

Although getting around Phuket can be a bit of a challenge, it’s definitely worth it. Each village offers visitors something different. Do you want to experience Thailand’s famous nightlife?

Are you more interested in exploring the local historical and cultural sights? Maybe you want to find a spot in the sand and soak up the sun. All of these things are possible if you’re in the right place.

Below we cover the five best towns in Phuket broken down by interest.

1. Phuket Town – Where to Stay in Phuket for the First Time

Phuket Town is the capital of Phuket province and the largest city on the island. Made up of narrow streets, Phuket Town is where you’ll find great restaurants, unique shops, and one-of-a-kind attractions. Enjoy a real local atmosphere and charming attractions in this urban environment.

Phuket Town is also ideal for travellers interested in history and culture. Home to Old Phuket Town, this city is where you’ll find a myriad of colourful heritage sites. From temples and shrines to museums and markets, visit Phuket Town for an authentic slice of Thai life.

Things to See and Do in Phuket Town
  • Climb Khao Rang for a magnificent bird’s eye view of the city and the southern part of the island. On a clear day, you can even catch a glimpse of some of the offshore islands.
  • Explore the rich history of Old Phuket Town, a charming section of the city where you’ll find temples, preserved shophouses, restaurants and cafes.
  • Visit the colourful Shrine of the Serene Light and see the Taoist etchings on the walls.
  • Hike up Monkey Hill and see dozens of monkeys in their natural habitat.
  • Enjoy excellent street food as you browse Lard Yai, the Sunday Walking Street Market.
  • Take in the breathtaking views at Windmill Viewpoint.
  • Dive deep into Phuket’s past at Phuket Culture Museum, where the history is told through pictures and still scenes.
  • Visit the largest temple in Phuket, Chalong Temple.
  • Enjoy a typical Thai lunch and cultural show at Thai Village and Orchid Farm. Make sure you pop into the dining hall to see the more than 20,000 varieties of orchids that decorate the walls.
Best Hostel in Phuket Town: In PHUKET House in Phuket Town

Conveniently located near Old Town Phuket, this hostel is surrounded by shops, attractions, restaurant and bars.

It provides guests with a comfortable and clean environment and a range of amenities, including cable TV, free Internet, and air conditioning units. Enjoy the best of Phuket at this downtown hostel.

View on HostelWorld Best Hotel in Phuket Town: Casa Blanca Boutique Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Phuket Town, this hotel is perfectly located to explore the city’s offerings. Recently refurbished, this boutique hotel features modern amenities, elegant décor and comfortable surroundings.

Enjoy free wifi, an outdoor pool and an on-site restaurant at this charming hotel in Old Phuket Town. One night here and you’ll quickly see why this is one of the best places to stay in Phuket Town.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined     View on Agoda 2. Karon – Where to Stay in Phuket on a Budget

Karon beach lies on the west coast of the island of Phuket. Home to the second largest of the island’s tourist beaches, Karon is where you’ll find stunning views, shimmering turquoise waters, and white sand beaches that squeak when you walk on them.

With a number of cool restaurants and relaxed bars, you’ll have no trouble finding ways to pass the time in Karon.

But Karon is more than just a stunning location. It’s one of the best areas to stay in Phuket if you’re travelling on a budget. With a myriad of accommodation options, you’re guaranteed to find somewhere to stay that fits your style and your budget.

image source: Flickr

Things to See and Do in Karon
  • Enjoy 3 kilometres of powdery white sand at Karon Beach, a relatively uncrowded beach featuring facilities, dining and outdoor recreation options.
  • Visit the colourful and stunning Wat Suwan Khiri Khet temple.
  • Hike up to Karon View Point and enjoy great views of the surrounding forests, beaches and sea.
  • Sample delicious, unique, and exotic foods, including crocodile and insects, at the Karon Temple Market.
  • Play a round of golf at Dino Park Mini Golf.
  • Relax and take a break from the sun at Khlong Bangla Park.
  • Grab a snorkel and explore what lies beneath the waves at Karon Beach. Currents can be strong in this area so always seek local information before heading out.
  • Rest, relax and rejuvenate at Mantra Herbal Steam Sauna and Spa.
  • Grab a pint and watch the game at Walkabout Sports Bar.
  • Enjoy cheap and delicious local fare at the Pad Thai Shop.
Best Hostel in Karon: Doolay Beachfront Hostel

This hostel is perfectly situated to explore Karon. Located beachfront, Doolay Hostel is within walking distance of restaurants, bars, local markets and shopping areas.

It boasts a small bar and on-site restaurant as well as a comfortable and welcoming common area. Enjoy clean beds with personal reading lamps and shelves at this inexpensive and centrally located hostel.

View on HostelWorld Best Hotel in Karon: OneLoft Hotel

OneLoft Hotel is the perfect place to make your home away from home in Karon. These comfortable and contemporary lofts offer basic cooking facilities, free wifi and relaxing accommodations. Conveniently located, this hotel boasts amazing views and 5-star luxury at a fraction of the price.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined     View on Agoda 3. Patong – Where to Stay in Phuket for Nightlife

Patong is the most popular tourist destination in Phuket. This picturesque coastal town has stunning white sand beaches, perfect for relaxing on a chaise, catching some rays, and getting lost in the beauty of the scenery.

Although beautiful, Patong is best known as Asia’s premier party destination. Bangla Road lies at the heart of the nightlife scene.

With the densest concentration of bars and clubs anywhere in Phuket, this hotspot is where you’ll find world famous bars, clubs, and entertainment complexes that cater to every taste, fetish and orientation. It’s no wonder Patong is the best place to stay in Phuket for singles.

image source: Flickr

Things to See and Do in Patong
  • Explore Bangla Road, Patong’s central attraction and home to bars, pubs, nightclubs, exotic and erotic shows, and Thai restaurants.
  • Drive to Paradise Beach to experience one of the most stunning beaches in all of Thailand.
  • Visit Paradise Beach Club to drink and dance under the stars at Phuket’s biggest and first daily beach party.
  • Take in a Muay Thai style boxing match at Bangla Boxing Stadium.
  • Enjoy a moment of peace and tranquillity at the beautiful Suwan Khiri Wong Temple.
  • Browse the stalls and enjoy cheap and tasty food at the Malin Plaza Patong market.
  • Spend a day sunbathing on the radiant Patong Beach.
  • Party from dusk until dawn at Seduction Complex, the largest nightclub in Patong Beach.
  • Eat authentic Thai food and a great atmosphere at the Halfway Inn Restaurant.
  • Grab a beer and enjoy a few games at Aussie Bar.
Best Hostel in Patong: GandM Hostel

GandM Hostel is the best budget accommodation option in Patong. Conveniently located near Bangla Road, this hostel is situated at the heart of Phuket’s notorious nightlife scene. Just a few steps from Phuket’s best bars, clubs and restaurants, you can’t get any closer to the action.

Enjoy hot showers, comfortable beds, and a great atmosphere at this Patong Beach hostel.

View on HostelWorld Best Hotel in Patong: Baipho Lifestyle Residence

This charming hotel is a peaceful oasis in the midst of Patong’s chaotic centre. It’s located within walking distance of Patong’s famous bars, restaurants, trendy nightclubs and relaxed pubs.

Enjoy comfortable and spacious rooms and modern amenities, including complimentary wifi and air conditioning. You won’t find a better hotel in the centre of Patong.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined     View on Agoda 4. Kata – One of the Coolest Places to Stay in Phuket

Kata Beach is one of the trendiest places to stay in Phuket. Located on the islands west coast, this village is perfect for travellers looking for a great mix of relaxed atmosphere, exciting nightlife, and a variety of great attractions.

More than just cool, Kata is also our pick for where to stay in Phuket for couples. Kata is home to a golden sand beach, world-class spas and wellness centres, and a number of top-notch restaurants.

Gone are the days Phuket was just a backpacker hang out as Phuket has rebuilt its tourism to cater more luxurious guests too.

The area is also a popular destination for snorkelers and divers thanks to Kata Beach House Reef. Home to parrot fish, seahorses, and the occasional turtle and octopus, Kata is a fun and interesting place for anyone looking to explore beneath the waves.

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Turn to the Streets for a Delightful Mastication Experience!

Some of the Best Street Food to Savour Anywhere In The World…

When travelling, forget fancy restaurants or Starbucks for your eats (although it is kind of satiating to compare the McDonalds of the world). Instead, look to see what the locals are eating because that is the only way to discover fantastic, flavoursome, full-on street food stalls. Street food is flavoursome, funky and fresh and cuisine just does not get more authentic than being cooked by local vendors right on the street. Just ask celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who scours the pavements of the world looking for inspiration…

According to website fin24.com, the world-renowned food maestro featured the South African township barbeque come street restaurant, Mzoli’s Place, on the April 2009 edition of his magazine, calling it ‘heaven’. Yep, a street-side barbecue featured on the same list as some of the finest and most expensive Michelin starred restaurants on the planet. 

The best thing of all about street food though is that you’re unlikely to find cheaper or tastier food than at a local trader’s food stall. On the flip-side, it is also a way for you to support the local host community directly and meet the locals.

Here is a quick round-up of some of the best street food experiences in the world today;

South Africa, Mozambique and Nigeria

South Africa

 Africa is incredibly diverse and the giant continent boasts a wealth of different traditions, cultures and of course, cuisines.

If you’re on a guided township tour in South Africa then why not be cheeky and tuck into a sumptuous “smilie”! While a sheep’s head perhaps isn’t quite for everyone, this delicacy is slow braised or barbecued for hours & hours so is arguably the most tender, inexpensive meat treat you will ever enjoy.  Also be sure to check out the hilariously and ingeniously named “walkie-talkies” -chicken feet (walkies) and chicken beaks (talkies)…Basically nothing here is wasted!

Then you can cross the border to mythical Mozambique and sample the street food that, according to British tabloid the Mirror, (bastion of respectable and reliable journalism…) made Nando’s famous. If flamed-grilled peri-peri chicken and prawns are your fancy then you’re in for a real treat at a very budget-friendly price. Yep, get back to the source and you will find that real Mozambiqueie peri-peri is infinitely better than Nando’s at only a fraction of the cost. 

If you decide to head north-west to Nigeria then you’ll probably get hung up on the local Jollof rice before long. This spicy chicken or fish, vegetable and rice dish is now so popular that it’s copied in many mainstream restaurants.

Mexico 

Mexico.

Mexicans make music with their food (and then eat their guitars…) and their passion and traditional pride is portrayed in each & every dish, especially in their creative use of humble corn. As you’ll glean from the extensive array of inspirational dishes available at Deliveroo.com.au, there is far, far more to Mexican food than mere tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas and other similar street foods. Eating Mexican street food can be a delightfully delicious way to keep costs down and stay within a lean food budget. The other big expense to watch in Mexico is accommodation but other than that its a budget backpackers delight!

The rest of Latin America however isn’t actually revered for its cuisine. The notable exceptions are Peru and Argentina although the latter is a challenge for vegetarians or anybody who doesn’t want to fill their guts with rich, red meat.

Source: Wikimedia 

The Far East

The selection at a Hong Kong street barbie…

Give those lunchboxes in Taipei a try! Most travellers who get over the smell of bean curd or tofu are richly rewarded with lunch boxes that even big appetites can’t master! A typical lunch box consists of a crispy fried chicken leg quarter or nearly a whole duck, jasmine rice and scrumptious stir-fried veg, including tofu. The soup is usually complimentary. Other delights for a steal include stir-fried noodles and barbecued squid at night and filling egg and spring onion savory pancakes for breakfast.

As for Thailand and Malaysia, you’d be hard-pressed to find better Indian-Eastern fusion food anywhere, whether it’s the perfect Chicken Korma, delectable dumplings, Tom Yum, prawn curry, or an array of lemongrass, lime and spice-infused palate pleasers. Don’t miss chilli crab and other incredible lunchboxes when you’re in Singapore.

When I was in Hong Kong last year, I gauged each evening at the barbecues around the Night Market of Nathan Road. The vegetarian choice was sublime and I filled up on stuffed aubergine (or egg-plant if we must), spicy chargrilled peppers and mushroom skewers. Washed down with a delicious Tsingtao beer the bundle of joy still came in at less than $4 which was a welcome reprieve from Hong Kong’s wallet draining cost of living.

London, United Kingdom

Londons vibrant Camden Market.

Whilst traditional British food is universally derided (and quite rightly) the modern British palette is actually one of the most diverse in the world as generations of immigrants have left their mark and brought their culinary traditions to our isles.

Londons Camden market is one of the best places to get street food in the whole world. Pretty much everything you could ever want is here from Colombian empanadas, Indian paneer burgers to giant German sausages. You can also wash your dinner down with a delicious beer from one of the many bars (why not try the Camden Pale Ale?) whilst listening to live bands and shopping for vintage threads.

Borough Market is another street food staple and the east ends Spittlefields market is great on a Sunday.

Dine Like A King Right On The Street

Make the street your dinner table! So, whether it’s supplì in Rome, tagine in Marrakech, Bhel puri in Mumbai or mini skewers or espetinho in Rio, grab a sidewalk serving of the delectably local. Both your taste buds and your wallet will thank you.

The post Best Street Food Experiences in The World appeared first on The Broke Backpacker.

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JUMP TO : Adelaide Cost of Travel | Where to Stay | Things to Do | Travel Itinerary | Travel Tips

I traveled to Australia in 2014, at first to visit some distant family for the holidays. They lived in a sleepy little suburban town called Port Noarlunga on the outskirts of Adelaide, South Australia.

I’d heard much the coastal community – of jetty jumps, meat pies, and windy hills – at the dinner table from my Australian uncle. I figured “what the hell, let’s give backpacking in Adelaide a chance.”

Fast forward 6 months and I’m getting ready to leave Adelaide to start backpacking the rest of Australia. Adelaide had been very good to me while I was there. I fell in love with Adelaide:  an unpretentious city that is just starting to bloom, one full of artists, eccentrics, and, best of all, real Australians.

Lots of people talk trash about Adelaide – they say that it’s a boring place with nothing to see besides churches and bush. I say “let them think that; that way they won’t come here.” Though Adelaide lacks the likes of a harbor bridge or giant rock, it has some real superlatives including some of the best festivals, most beautiful city beaches, and most amazing wine culture in the country. Why wouldn’t you want to go backpacking in Adelaide?

Should you decided to venture to this faraway city, you’ll need some help. Remember: this is still Australia – things can get expensive, real quick.

For your benefit, I’ve written this budget travel guide to Adelaide so that you can save a buck or two. Over the course of it, we’ll cover topics ranging from where to sleep to what to do in this city.

Everything and then some is covered in this guide; with it, you’ll be more than prepared to go backpacking in Adelaide and on the cheap.

Stay as long as you can. | source

How Much does Backpacking Adelaide Cost?

Thankfully, Adelaide is one of the cheapest cities in Australia, outside of Queensland. Those who are backpacking Adelaide will not have to worry so much about frugality as they would in say Sydney or Melbourne.

This is still Australia though – even a cheap Australian city is expensive by most international standards. In order to get the most out of your trip or working holiday here, you’ll still have to follow some key money-saving habits. Always go backpacking on a budget! Adelaide included.

The average daily budget for Adelaide is around $55-$75. This will get you a dorm bed, grocery money, some wine, and some extra spending money.

Adelaide can be even cheaper with the right spending habits. By sticking to diehard shoestring tactics, like Couchsurfing, cooking at home, and drinking goon, you can go backpacking in Adelaide for very little.

Interested? PIN NOW, read later!

A typical hostel in Adelaide will cost around $20-$25 for a dormitory. Though less extravagant and monolithic than some hostels in the larger Australian cities, the hostels in Adelaide are still of a high quality and offer the usual amenities. Hostels in Adelaide are, to some, preferable as they are usually more relaxed.

Groceries in Adelaide can be cheap or not depending on where you shop. If you go to the large brand name supermarkets, like Woolworths, then you’ll spend more. The Central Market has the best deals especially near the end of the day/week when the stalls need to get rid of their wares and start slashing prices.

Drinking in Adelaide will be much like the rest of Australia – shamefully expensive. When going out in Adelaide, pre-fade at home and then set a nightly budget.

Below is a breakdown of the costs of travel in Adelaide for the average backpacker.

Adelaide Daily Budget Breakdown

Hostel Dormitory: $20-$25

Basic room for two: $130

AirBnB/temp apartment: $130

Average cost of public transport: $4-$8

City-Airport transfer: $2

Sandwich: $8-$10

Beer at a bar: $5-$8

Coffee: $3-$4

Bottle of wine from the market: $2-$8

Dinner for two: $40-$50

Adelaide. | source

Adelaide Budget Backpacking Tips

There are always ways to save cash while traveling in Adelaid! With the proper spending habits, Adelaide can be cheap and you can stay here without feeling the screws tighten around your wallet. Just follow the tips in this travel guide for Adelaide!

Below is a list of tips for backpacking in Adelaide on a budget. Follow these words of advice and you’ll find that your dollar goes much further.

  1. Always pre-fade before going out: Buying full-priced drinks at the bar is a great way to waste your money. Instead, buy booze at the store and drink with your friends at the hostel/their house/the park/anywhere besides the actual bar. Drink lots of store-bought wine; it’s freakin’ cheaper than water sometimes!
  2. Cook at home as often as possible: One of the most proven ways of saving money for backpackers; buying your own groceries and cooking at home will save you heaps of cash.
  3. Eat/drink during happy hour: Many bars and cafes offer drink and meal specials during the quieter hours of the day (4pm-6pm). Some of these deals can be quite affordable; even the locals use them!
  4. Get a job: Whether or not you have a working holiday visa, there are plenty of opportunities to find backpack jobs in Adelaide. Many hostels will give you a free bed in exchange for a few hours of labor. Refer to our backpacking Australia guide for more on working in Australia.
  5. Bargain shop: There’s always a sale in Adelaide! Many shops are independently owned and actually use a bartering system as well. Never pay full price for a product unless you have no other choice.
  6. Do free shit: There are a ton of attractions in Adelaide that don’t charge you any sort of entrance fee! None of these are dull or boring either. Check out any of these free things to do in Adelaide while visiting.

The Botanic Gardens and Bicentennial Conservatory are both free to visit. | source

Where to Stay in Adelaide

Adelaide has a number of great hostels to choose from. Unlike the hostels in Melbourne or Sydney, which can feel somewhat crowded, the hostels in Adelaide are much smaller and more intimate. In Adelaide, backpackers will have the opportunity to really get to know their fellow travelers, especially so if they’re staying long-term with an Australian working holiday visa.

Many hostels offer discounts to long-term inhabitants. These deals are usually catered to those backpacking Australia long-term with a working holiday visa. Staying for a longer period at one of these hostels could be an awesome experience as everyone really knows each other and the camaraderie is really fantastic.

Other working holidayers opt to stay in an apartment. Since Adelaide is so much cheaper than most other Australian cities, many backpackers can actually afford their own room or even flat with their paycheck.

Check the local classifieds, like Gumtree, or check your hostel’s bulletin board – many backpackers start in the hostel and end up moving into their own place. To save the most money, you can, of course, reach out to potential hosts via couchsurfing.

Australians are an extremely hospitable bunch and love to host unsuspecting visitors. Be sure to follow all the usual courtesies and rules of staying with a stranger though.

Should you use Airbnb, check out our Airbnb coupon code for $35 off your first stay!

Below, you’ll find a brief breakdown of the best hostels in Adelaide.

Best Overall Backpacker Hostel in Adelaide: Tequila Sunrise Hostel

A relative newcomer to the hostel scene in Adelaide, the Tequila Sunrise Hostel seemingly has it all: location, good looks, a patio, beverages on-site, brand new communal kitchen, free breakfast, and much, much more. Check into this already well-admired hostel for a taste of the best backpacker hospitality that Adelaide can offer.

Book Your Adelaide Hostel Here 

Best Party Hostel in Adelaide: Glenelg Beach Hostel

If you’re looking for a good time while backpacking in Adelaide, look no further than the Glenelg Beach Hostel. Located only a few blocks from the shores and cafes, this hostel is a great launching point for a night out.

With an on-site bar offering $5 happy hour pints as well as organized social events on the weekends, partying in Adelaide has never been easier or more enjoyable.

Book Your Adelaide Hostel Here 

Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Adelaide: Sunny’s Adelaide Backpackers Hostel

Sunny’s prides itself on being one of the friendliest hostels in Adelaide; a place where you’ll feel right at home. As one of the smallest hostels in Adelaide as well, Sunny’s is a very intimate lodge, one where you’ll be able to sit down and actually have a conversation with someone.

Be sure to attend the free pancake breakfast, served every morning, for a chance to mingle with your fellow travelers. Who could miss out on free flapjacks?

Book Your Adelaide Hostel Here 

Top Things to Do in Adelaide 1. Visit the many wineries

Adelaide produces the most wine in all of  Australia! Visit any number of the hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of wineries located outside of Adelaide.

2. Go to a sports match

Adelaidians are crazy for sports! Their favorites are cricket and Aussie Rules Football. Attend any sort of match at the hallowed Adelaide Oval for an epic afternoon.

Hallowed be thy name….Adelaide Oval. | source

3. Climb Mt. Lofty

Mt. Lofty is one of the most popular hikes in Adelaide because of its astounding views and relative ease. Climb this moderate peak and join in the ranks of your fellow Adelaidians.

4. Go shopping in the Central Market

The Central Market is one of best attractions in the city! Here, you can find just about anything and of an exceptional quality. If you only have 3 days in Adelaide, this is the place to visit.

Such a cool place. | source

5. Relax in one of the many gardens and parklands

Adelaide is a garden city, built amongst groves of trees and bushes that shade and shelter its inhabitants. Visit anyone of the surrounding parklands or gardens, like the Himeji or Botanic Gardens, for an escape from the city.

6. Eat and drink in the CBD

There are countless places to eat in Adelaide! Food in this city is a big deal and the residents love to dine. The cafe culture is very strong here as well – the coffee will not disappoint.

7. Spend a day on the beach

Adelaide has some of the best city beaches in Australia! Each one has a different flavor and is conveniently accessible by public transport.

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I am Sebastian Jacobitz, a Photographer from Berlin, and although Berlin can be a very exciting place, I decided to escape the cold weather to enjoy the warmer weather of Southeast Asia. 

While traveling in Southeast Asia for more than 3 months, I visited Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, focusing most of my time in the Indonesia jungle near Mount Ijen in Java.

I want to share my unique experience of living near Mount Ijen, Indonesia. Hopefully, I can motivate you to travel for a longer time than your typical 2-week vacation, and make my case for why a homestay is one of the best places to stay in Indonesia.

Traveling is a great way to spend personal days off, but most jobs only allow a couple weeks of vacation a year. If you are going to a foreign country, this time constraint only allows you to scratch the surface of its culture and people. No matter how much time you invest in the planning for a trip beforehand, it simply isn’t enough to fully appreciate the insights of the country.

After studying and acquiring a master’s degree, I started a regular office job. I quickly realized that the job isn’t really what I want to pursue in life. After more than a year of saving as much as I could for travel, I quit my job to spend more than three months exploring Southeast Asia.

My Indonesia Backpacking Trip to Mount Ijen – Living in Java

My backpacking trip to Southeast Asia focused on living in Indonesia. My goal was to produce a small photo series surrounding the Mount Ijen and the sulfur miners that are working there.

To produce this series, I figured one of the best places to stay in Indonesia would be with a local family very close to the mountain — instead of renting a hotel room in the next bigger city.

The furthest I had been away from home was Italy, so the prospect of visiting Asia seemed like visiting a different world, especially going there for a rather long time – away from family & friends – where I wouldn’t understand the local language and communication.

Yet my interest in visiting this different world and experiencing some adventures was a lot stronger than the fear of getting lost or bored far away from my comfortable home. Additionally, as an established Street Photographer, I wanted to meet the local photographers whose pictures I saw on Instagram and other platforms.

Why a Homestay is the Best Accommodation in Bali

It turned out that my homestay in Indonesia had a lot more benefits than simply being close to my actual destination (where I wanted to spend a lot of time on my photography work). Before my trip I was very skeptical if living with a local family would be a good idea, especially considering the cultural differences.

Needless to say, it was my first time booking a homestay instead of a hotel room or an apartment. The Indonesian jungle isn’t really a place where one should make errors, and therefore I was afraid that the living conditions wouldn’t really meet my expectations.

I booked the homestay via Airbnb, and although most tourists are only staying for one night to visit the Bluefire at Ijen, I was confident that my six weeks in the Indonesian Jungle would be survivable.

Staying with a local family would also bring me a lot closer to experience the local culture. I am not a fan of big resorts and if I am already flying around half the globe, I want to witness what real life looks like, and not be deceived by the hotel and touristic area.

In addition, the homestay is not really a pricey place to live. At around $10 per night, I stayed in a small room with a filling, local breakfast. But what was priceless? The countless experiences and stories that living with the local family would hold for me.

In hindsight, booking this homestay in Indonesia was the best decision I made to experience the local culture and life in the Indonesian jungle. I believe there is no better way for an authentic trip far away from the tourist areas than spending the time with a local family.

.

Living in a Remote Village near Mount Ijen in Indonesia

Before visiting the small village near Mount Ijen, I already spent two weeks in Jakarta. Jakarta gave me a taste of what Indonesian culture is like. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised that the biggest and most beautiful building in the small village was the mosque.

The remote village called Glondok is about 40 minutes away from the next bigger city, Banyuwangi. Although 40 minutes doesn’t seem like much, it was practically impossible for me to leave the village at first because the roads were in such bad condition, and I needed to learn to drive a scooter there first.

Glondok is a very small village with only 300 people living next to the small road that leads into the village. Most of the people are either rice farmers or working in the tourism branch, guiding tourists to the Bluefire at night. Very few are actually sulfur miners themselves, and the industry is changing.

With increasing language skills in English and internet access, the younger generation advertises stays on AirBnB or Tripadvisor. In the summer, when the 8 month of rain-season is over, the homestays are fully booked and tourists are visiting the Mount Ijen every other night.

In January, when I visited the small village it was in the middle of the rain season, and tourism wasn’t really present apart from very few people attending the Bluefire for one night only.

When I first arrived at the village, I was already greeted by the very welcoming nature of the people. I was invited to eat dinner at a different home than where I was staying, and although they didn’t speak any English, it was a great experience.

Little did I know, the next evening would even hold more surprises for me. My homestay host invited me to his cousin’s wedding. For an area with strong family ties, such a wedding was a very important event and almost all of the villagers were attending the wedding in the neighboring village.

The wedding was celebrated in the traditional Javanese style, which resembles the ceremonies of the old king’s era. Such weddings are becoming a rarity because more people are drawn to the cities, and traditions are vanishing rapidly.

For me, it was one of the best memories from my Indonesia backpacking trip, and I wouldn’t be have experienced such an event if I would stay in a hotel, secluded from the local people.

My Experience Visiting the Mount Ijen Crater and Beyond

My main goal when traveling in Indonesia was to visit Mount Ijen. In contrast to most tourists that are coming to this area, I wasn’t interested in the Bluefire, which happens at night; I wanted to go the mountain during the day to document the work of the sulfur miners, which sounded so surreal when I first heard about them. And I was determined to have a look at that unbelievable job myself.

Driving to the base camp of Mount Ijen took around 45 minutes on a scooter that I rented privately. Although I had never driven a scooter before, I quickly familiarized myself with the handling, and the route wasn’t too difficult. That said, you should be very careful as there are a few dangerous passings en route to Mount Ijen.

The scenery near the road is so extraordinary that on some occasions I visited the area without going to the mountain. Driving high in the hills, you can view the other coast of Bali, and at night you can see all the lights shimmering through.

After you arrive at the base camp of Mount Ijen, the hike up to the edge of the crater takes roughly an hour. Although that doesn’t sound long, there are very steep slopes that really take a toll on you. A local guide accompanied me on my visits to Mount Ijen because I also wanted to talk with the workers.

A guide isn’t necessary if you do not want to go down the crater. The way up is pretty obvious and not dangerous itself. Nevertheless, there have been a few fatal incidents recently, and you should be aware that this is a dangerous area where you should watch your step.

The view from the top of Mount Ijen is already pretty impressive, but this wasn’t the end for me. ‘

Sulfur miners were already passing by and some of them are able to carry more than 70kg per “climb”.

Needless to say that the workers climb up and down the mountain four times per workday to fill the carts and sell the sulfur.

At the foot of the crater, miners were preparing the job site for gathering sulfur the next day. My guide wasn’t happy with my decision to come close to the workers, but since I already came all the way to this place, I wanted to get as close as possible.

I took pictures within the toxic sulfur smoke, alongside the workers. As they were moving pipes and constructing the new site, the smoke changed directions every so often and breathing was a difficult challenge with the gas mask covering my mouth. In addition to that, the sulfur smoke was burning my eyes, which I wasn’t prepared for.

This trip beyond the Ijen crater was one of the most intense experiences of my life. Being at the foot of the crater, surrounded by this beautiful nature and then facing the sulfur smoke and toxic environment makes it to one of the most surreal places on earth.

These sulfur miners are working one of the most dangerous jobs, only to make around $600 from selling the sulfur.

Lessons Learned in Indonesian Jungle

Living in the Indonesia Jungle was life-changing. During my stay, I didn’t have hot water, electricity outages were expected when it rained, and it was nearly impossible to leave the village after dark.

I realized that this luxurious life we have in the west isn’t a requirement to live a happy life. There are other aspects far more important to lead a happy and fulfilled life. What exactly this might be for you? You have to find out for yourself, and being away from the hectic and stressful everyday grind can help you.

Overall, the most important aspects of my Indonesia backpacking trip were the challenges I faced and overcame. Before staying in a homestay in Java, I didn’t think that I would be able to live such a different life for so long. I am used to having a warm shower, a fridge full of food and all sorts of electronic distractions.

In the Indonesian jungle life is different. You wake up when the sun rises and plan your day according to the weather. Often times during the rainy season, you have to be flexible and trips have to be postponed or modified.

Life there is slower and different, but you cannot compare which lifestyle is better or worse. Both sides definitely have their appeal and you have to find out which mix is best for you in the long-term.

Backpacking Indonesia on a Budget – Why Choose a Homestay

Money is a very important aspect when traveling, especially for a length of 6 weeks. Luckily, Indonesia is a low-cost country and most services are very inexpensive.

My way of traveling in Indonesia also focused on saving money and avoiding unnecessary expenses. Nonetheless, I don’t feel that I missed out on anything. I had an awesome experience, met a lot of new people, and lived a local life that wouldn’t be possible any other way.

Getting to Mount Ijen on Java

There are different ways to get to Mount Ijen.

For example, you can fly from any major airport to Singapore, then fly to Surabaya, and then either from Surabaya to Banyuwangi via flight or taxi.

A trip from Berlin to Surabaya costs about $1000, including the transfer to Banyuwangi you should plan at least $1100. Of course, this can depend heavily on your departure location.

Visas for Indonesia

If you are staying in Indonesia for less than two months, you can get a Visa-on-Arrival in Surabaya.

There are two visa options: a free of charge Visa or one where you pay around $30. If you want to stay longer than a month, make sure to pay the $30 because this Visa-on-Arrival can be extended for a maximum stay of two months.

The free of charge Visa cannot be extended, and only allows a stay of one month. The extension costs around another $30.

Accommodation around Mount Ijen

My accommodation around Mount Ijen, a homestay, cost $10 for each night and included breakfast. If you are worried about the living standards, I can only speak for myself and say that I got used to it.

The room and bed were very clean, which is the most important aspect for me, and other things like a cold shower or power interruptions didn’t worry me too much.

The daily cost of living around Mount Ijen

Life in the village doesn’t have to cost much. There were days where I stayed in the village and only spent $1,50 for the meal at the Warung in the evening. You can go on hikes, explore the local area, or ask locals for advice.

It never gets boring in the village and there is always something to do. I played volleyball with the locals, helped them with road construction, and watched their “cricket fights”.

Mount Ijen Tours

Only when it comes to touristic trips, I would consider the prices to be more on “Western standards”.

The entrance to the Ijen, for example, costs around $8 during the week and $12 on the weekend. A guide can cost around $20 for the trip down the crater. If you are booking the whole package, including the transfer from the homestay to the mountain and down the crater, the cost can be around $40.

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