I love backpacking, I love the lifestyle, I love the 15 bed dorms and I live living like a complete bum!
But sometimes it’s nice to upgrade for a few days, have some space to yourself (read; double bed, en suite and air con!) sit in one spot and take a break from it all, becuase anyone who has backpacked for a prolonged period will tell you it can be pretty draining sometimes.
My last couple of weeks in Thailand were definitely a flashpacking experience for me. I’ve been lucky enough to work with companies such as AsiaRooms.com and Roomorama who have sorted me out with some pretty swanky 4* hotel accommodation to enjoy and review – good times!
An Odd Situation
But one thing that has struck me about the flashpacker life is the more you pay for your accomodation the less seems to be included and the more you’re expected to pay for those extras.
Seems bizzare right?
As a backpacker and blogger I have a few daily creature comforts that I need to work and play efficiently with.
Those are beer (of course!), wifi (being the tech geek I am) and the occasional back massage (no happy ending!).
Now throughout my backpacking experience this year in South America and Asia these have been abundantly availible.
More importantly they’ve been cheap.
And in alot of instances free.
Pay Less, Get More
Take the gorgeous Little Bird Guest House in Chang Mai. It’s possibly the cheapest accomodation I’ve stayed in all year – a bed in a 4 dorm fan room coming in at 100baht (just over £2).
That hostel came with the following;
- Central Location
- En Suite (small toilet shower combo)
- Free wifi throughout (inc rooms)
- Bar in the communal area, where a large Change cost 40baht (just under £1)
- Balcony overlooking the Chang Mai skyline
…and just round the corner you could get an hour long Thai massage at a really quaint and amazing palour for 250baht – about £5. And the nearest restaurant served up epic portions for about 80 baht per meal – just under £2
Not bad going hey?!
Now take the Absolute Thailand Resort I recently stayed in on my visit to Phuket.
This Phuket hotel was an amazing building that was right on the sea front and a short walking distance to pretty much everything.
My rather spacious double room would’ve cost me just over 3000baht per night, about £65.
That hostel room came with the following;
- Central location
- En suite (rather large inc bath tub)
- TV (not used)
- Small kitchenette (not used)
- Pool – medium sized
- Mini Bar – where a small Chang cost 80baht (just under £2)
- In room wifi – charged at 90baht (£1.90) per hour
Within the hotel you could also visit the spa facility – where an hour long Thai massage would set you back 1800baht (about £38) or order room service, with a Pad Thai coming in at 200baht (just over £4).
That’s over 32 times the price for the hotel room to start off with and not only are you charged for extra facilities, the additional extras you’d normally pay for you are charged HEAPS more.
It just doesn’t make any sense to me!
Made of Money?!
I guess the assumption with larger hotels is that if you can afford the original price tag for these kind of tailor made holidays, you can afford the comparably minimal charges for the extras.
If I was paying that much for a room I’d want EVERYTHING else for free!
So even though I’ve been sleeping in luxury my backpacker instincts mean that I’ve walked halfway down the street to eat at a reasonably priced, family owned restaurant – both for a feed and for the free wifi they provide and the cheaper pints they serve!
It even seems as though the middle ground in this equation is also filled. Take the Ayu Beach Inn that I stayed in recently in Bali. This set me back 150,000rupiah per night (don’t be shocked, that’s only about £10!) for a double, fan rooom and came with the following;
- Central location (on Poppies 1 – 200m from the beach and 200m from the bars and clubs)
- En suite
- Free morning breakfast
- 2 pools (one small, one medium)
- Bar, with a small Bintang coming in at 16,000rupiah (just over £1)
- Restaurant, with meals coming in at around 18,000 rupiah (just over £1)
- Wifi (although only in restaurant and pool area)
The nearest massage parlour could sort out an hour long back massage for around 150,000rupiah (just over £10)
To me it seems the world of travel accommodation has got rather skewed over the years. Those with money spend heaps and then heaps more.
Those on a budget settle for a lower standard of room, but have free extras and lower expenditure on everything else to compensate for it!
It’s a crazy world we live in and not one I’m prepared to flashpack in much more than the wallet can afford, hell even a private room in a hostel will suffice!
So despite enjoying the world of high rollers from time to time courtesy of some of the companies I work alongside (where I look completely out of place may I add – I dread to think what the posh American family checking into the PP Island Cabana Resort in front of me thought as I rocked up sweaty, hungover, topless and barefoot double turtling my rucksacks!) I shall definitely be rejoining the world of my skint backpacking brethren as soon as I can.
For there money doesn’t matter – the beer is cold and the bank balance is healthy…well to some degree!
What’s the best value accommodation you guys have stayed at – or more importantly the worst value so we can all avoid it!