During my two months in Southeast Asia I stayed at 15 different hostels, hotels, and guesthouses. Some were outstanding- with modern designs and impressive levels of service- and others were average or forgettable.
I was especially impressed with every hotel I stayed at in Vietnam. With clean rooms, consistently delicious breakfasts, professional and courteous staff, and ridiculously cheap rates, I think Vietnamese hotels were some of the most high-value properties I’ve ever stayed at.
I only traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam on this trip, so I hope to add to this list when I have traveled more extensively in the region.
These are my favourite accommodations in no particular order:
1) Smiley’s Lake House – Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Smiley’s Lake House is basically a floating hostel located on Chieo Lan Lake surrounded by lush jungle and limestone karsts. The bungalows are very basic with thin walls, a mattress on the floor, a small attached bathroom, and limited electricity. Even though the actual accommodations aren’t particularly spectacular, staying at this lake house was such a unique experience. I loved the beautiful and peaceful surroundings and, because there was no light pollution, the sky was illuminated with bright and vivid stars each night.
2) B&B Hanoi Hostel – Hanoi, Vietnam
This hotel is small, clean, and located right in the heart of the Old Town. The level of service was outstanding and the staff is really what makes this hotel special. From the moment I arrived to the time I checked out, every staff member was attentive, helpful, and went above and beyond to make my stay enjoyable.
The front desk agent practically ran outside to help my friend and I carry our luggage into the hotel when we arrived late in the evening. When he found out we were feeling ill, the concierge walked my friend and I down the street to a pharmacy and helped us purchase medication, he made us ginger tea, and assisted us in searching for flights when we decided to go to Hoi An on a whim. I couldn’t believe the level of service I received at a hotel that costs $22 per night.
Also, the breakfast was delicious- a fresh and crispy baguette with eggs, fresh fruit, and fruit juice.
Rate: Rooms start at $22 per night
3) The Town House 50 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
This hostel is spotless with a contemporary design, bright tones, and an inviting ambiance. The bed was comfortable and I loved the large marble shower.
The front desk agent was very friendly and greeted me with a cold glass of water and freshly sliced watermelon when I arrived- which was a nice touch.
The breakfast was amazing and consisted of a fresh baguette, made to order eggs, fresh tropical fruits, and delicious iced coffee.
The hostel is located in a nice area of District 1 and is within walking distance of Pham Ngu Lao (the backpacker district).
4) Sunshine Hotel – Hoi An, Vietnam
This hotel is aptly named with large windows and bright and cheery rooms and common areas. There is ample space in the lobby, breakfast area, and the rooms are also very spacious. The beds were large and comfortable- which is a rarity in Southeast Asia.
The breakfast buffet almost deserves a post on its own; it was the best breakfast I’ve ever had- anywhere. There was a long table of hot and cold dishes including Asian dishes of rice, noodles, steamed vegetables, and spring rolls. There were also western fare options, an omelet station, cakes and pastries, fresh fruit and fruit juice- plus more.
Sunshine Hotel is perfectly located between the Old Town and the beach in a quiet area. The Old Town is a 15 minute walk or so and Cua Dai beach is roughly a 15 minute bike ride away. (Free bike rentals are available.)
5) Tropical Breeze Guesthouse – Siem Reap, Cambodia
I had booked this hotel in advance and was slightly nervous to see the condition of accommodations considering it was only $10 per night.
Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. The husband and wife owners were friendly and the guesthouse was located within walking distance of the main town centre.
The rooms were a little worn and dated, but they were also clean and spacious. The air conditioner in my room wasn’t working, but there was a fan, and it was surprisingly sufficient- especially considering how hot it was when I visited.
Breakfast and free WiFi were included and I felt safe with an overnight security guard manning the premises.
Rate: Private rooms start at $12 per night and dorms are $5 per night