Ximen Corner Hostel Review

It’s my 5th time in Taiwan, this time I am bringing my mom to see my favorite city in Asia. Like you guys know I love staying in hostels, that aside from the fact that hotels in Taipei can be a bit off of my budget. Knowing that it is spring, I understand that it can be difficult to book accommodations in the city. I tried booking my favorite hostel, Wow Hostel Ximen, for the entire duration of our trip but they were just full on our first two days.

I had no choice but to find another one. I remembered booking a different hostel for my cousin about a year ago when they visited. I checked them out at Booking.Com my go-to site in searching and reserving accommodations every time I travel. Searching for Ximen Corner Hostel I found that they have available beds in their dorm rooms on the days we need. I’ve seen the place before since I booked my cousin there so I didn’t hesitate to reserve beds there for our first two days.

We arrived during the wee time in the morning. Hostels usually do not staff their receptions during these times to save. It is common that they would just give you instructions so that you can check in your self to your room. To my amazement, Ximen Corner Hostel had someone waiting for us to check in, in the reception. Again this is 3 AM in the morning!

The lady was so pleasant and helpful, especially that my mom has a disability. She helped me carry our luggage to our rooms so we can settle. She gave us a quick tour of the hostel showing us where we can get breakfast, where the lounge is and other facilities that we may need during our stay.

Breakfast

Tired as we are, we decided to call it a day and just take a good night sleep. Waking up, breakfast was served at a corner of the hallway near where the water dispenser is. Breakfast was your typical bread, butter, and jam. It was just a bit disappointing because they didn’t have good mugs to fix your coffee on. Instead, they provide paper cups that are a bit small for a good mug of coffee to start my day. I really don’t expect much with hostel breakfasts especially that they are cheaper than normal hotels. I know that Ximen Corner Hostel is cheaper by about a couple of hundred NT$ compared to my first choice, but I still think breakfast could have been better. Also, coffee is limited to breakfast that ends at about 10 AM. There are no free beverage options after that.

that little nook in the hallway where they serve breakfast

Beds

The beds are comfortable enough to sleep soundly. Each bed is configured to provide privacy with the curtains and dividers between beds. It was comfortable enough for me, I could say to the extent that it is better than most of what I have seen in Southeast Asia. The Rooms are big and the temperature is on the comfortable to the cold side which I like. I say that it’s comfortable because it does provide a warmer temperature compared outside during winter but it’s not hot as if you will sweat.

Location

Ximen Corner Hostel’s location is superb. It is accessible to both the main road and the walking street. Our taxi dropped us off just a few meters away from the hostel which is great since my mom would have to navigate less of the uneven alley. During day time, the hostel is just a few steps away from the walking street and my favorite food shop in Ximending, Hot Star. It is also near other food stores like Yoshinoya and KFC if you want something familiar to your palate. Ximen Corner Hostel is also about fifty to a hundred meters away from the Ximending MRT station which will be really helpful especially if you plan to do most of your tours DIY style.

Facilities

Ximen Corner Hostel has good facilities that will cater to your travel needs. They have a really helpful reception that can provide you information on how to get to your destinations. Their rooms are all equipped with bathrooms so you do not have to go out to take a shower or use the toilet. You can also lounge around their common room that has comfortable sofas where you can hang out with your friends. You can also buy a token at the reception and battle with your friends on their nostalgic arcade game machines. The hostel also provides water for free for the entire day, coffee though is only available during breakfast. I am not sure if they have laundry services, I did not see any during my stay.

Edit: I recently found out that they do have laundry service. 

 

 

 

 

PWD Accessibility

Having my mom with me gave me a good opportunity to see how accessible this hostel is for people with disabilities. Ximen Corner Hostel is pretty accessible from the outside as the building from the alley has a small ramp to accommodate wheeled chairs. The elevator going up to their floor also has buttons low enough for PWDs to reach. Also when the elevators are accessed via this button, the door closes slower than usual giving enough time for PWDs to come in or out of the car.

Coming into the reception was hassle free as the car aligns really well to the floor. After checking in we proceeded to our rooms.  the hallways are nice and wide. Then on to the room is where we face some issues and here’s where my mom starts to complain.  The entrances are elevated from the hallway floor so you would have to take a step up to get in, and then another step to go down to the room floor. So if you are on a wheelchair it will be difficult if not impossible to get into the room and the bathroom

What I Think About Ximen Corner Hostel

As a backpacker, I’d say that Ximen Corner Hostel offers a really good value for your buck. Affordable price that gives a good bed, a comfortable environment, and a pretty hip style hostel. The staff here are also extremely helpful and friendly, they actually transferred my mom to my room which was more expensive than the all girls room at no additional cost. If you are really trying to save I’d say this is the best one for you.

The things that I didn’t like about this hostel though is that there are no windows. The hostel is housed in a commercial building with a few floors turned into hostels. Also, coffee or tea isn’t available the entire day which could have been awesome. As for my mom, if you are a PWD, we’d recommend you check out other hostels. Accessibility to each room is just bad for wheeled people. However, if you are on crutches you will still manage to go around, as its just the entrances to the rooms that are elevated from the hallway floor.

 

If you are considering checking out other hostels check out my review of other Taipei Hostels Below

Meander Hostel 

Ximen Wow Hostel

Cavemen Backpackers (coming soon)

Siem Reap Pub Hostel Review

On my recent Indochina backpacking trip, I wanted to make sure that my dad was gonna have a good time. I wanted to get some thing “standard” that would give my dad somewhat a vacation feel. Staying away from my usual hostel accommodation, I booked private rooms for us.

I had a few criteria  for a good accommodation. I need it to be clean of course. My major pet peeve is a dirty bathroom.  I hate bathrooms that smell like a public toilet and has yellowish bowls. It doesn’t have to be big, it just need to have hot and cold water and like I said a clean bowl.

 

CHECK SIEM REAP PUB HOSTEL PRICES 

 

It has to have a pool. I wanted to make sure that there’s somewhere we can hangout when we are just too lazy to go out. Some may say that it is totally unnecessary, but traveling longer than many (at least for Filipinos) made me change my mind. There are times when you just have to slow down when you start feeling that your trip is become like a race. Some may want an awesome view at a high floor or a really good room in an expensive hotel, but for me I just need to see a pool within reach.

It also needs to have a good internet access. Being a digital nomad has allowed me to travel with my family and still be able to work. Beautiful ain’t it? But it still has limitations. I can only go to places where the internet is good allowing me to connect to my files and work load. Reading from the reviews on my favorite booking website, I find that there are some that says the internet was good and did not find any bad comments. That was good enough for me. Here are some of the speed tests I did around the hostel.

 

WIFI Speeds

3rd floor corridor2nd floor corridorGround floor lobby

Unfortunately, this didn’t hold true with the connection in our room. I had a hard time connecting to the internet and actual have some work done. Good thing I have a local sim that gave me enough bandwidth for my work.

The Room and Price

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I always look for the best priced accommodation. Not just some cheap room, I always look for value. I’d say that is what Siem Reap Pub Hostel does offer, good value with its accommodation. I scored 2 rooms for just $11 a night! Each room was equipped with air conditioning unit keeping us cool all day. The bathrooms are also en-suite so there’s no need for you to share or wait for them to free up. Of course the best thing about having your own rooms is the privacy you get. I would have settled staying in a dorm room if I was alone. I’m just not sure though if they have a good place to work at if you are at the dorms. As far as private rooms though, most of them have tables you can work on.

Location

Siem Reap Pub Hostel’s location isn’t my favorite (full disclosure, I am biased for Sok San road) but it does locate you almost at the middle of everything. Market road is a few steps away while Sok San road where the cheap foods are is just a few minutes walk from the hostel. Also, you don’t have to worry about getting to the hostel when you arrive. The hostel provides free pickup from the bus stop (not sure about the airport though) going to the hostel.

Would I Recommend?

Would I? Yes! The value that Siem Reap Pub Hostel offers is incredible. Free Pick up, swimming pool, good internet on some locations, location and the friendly staff are awesome. I couldn’t tell though if this is as social as it should be for solo travelers, I was traveling with family.

CHECK SIEM REAP PUB HOSTEL PRICES 

Mui Ne Hostel: Mui Ne Hills Budget Hotel Review

mui ne hills budget hotel

Mui Ne Hills Budget Hotel is situated at the hilly part central part of the Mui Ne beach area. The hotel as its name suggest offers very affordable accommodation. I got attracted to the three pools that they have. I got this notion that if a hostel can afford to maintain a good pool, it has got to be a good one as it takes a lot of effort.

Continue reading

Saigon Hostel: Kiki’s House Saigon

Ho Chi Minh, specifically District 1 in Vietnam has plenty of hostels and hotels alike that you can choose from. Ranging from as little as $3 to as much as $100 you can definitely find your match in the area. As for me I found Kiki’s House Saigon. Being on a budget and traveling with friends, I was tasked to find a clean, comfortable yet affordable accommodation in District 1. Continue reading

Taipei Hostel: Ximen Wow Hostel

Being centrally located in the up and coming travel destination that is Taipei is a must when exploring the city. Fortunately, the Ximen district  -Taipei’s heart – houses more than a handful of hostels and hotels that can fit most of your accommodation needs. Being my group of friend’s defacto organizer I began searching for a good hostel that would fit everyone’s wants while working on a budget. After adjusting my filters on my search in Booking.com I was so happy to find a property that met all of what I was looking for; Ximen Wow Hostel.

Continue reading

Bangkok Hostel: Zee Thai Hostel

We were on a 12 day backpacking trip of the Indochina region of Southeast Asia and a few of my friends went ahead to Thailand. They didn’t have the luxury of time. They were booked at the same hostel where the rest of us will be staying. But when they got to the hostel, they were quite disappointed with the accommodation. I got into panic mode and re-booked our group to a different hostel.

wanting to stay near Khaosan road, to be just a stone throw away from the main attractions of the old city so we can just wander around saving us money. Though there are hundreds of hostels in and around Khaosan, I had a budget to work around and a level of comfort to provide for my friends -they aren’t really thrifty-stingy-backpackers like me.

I scoured through the pages of online booking sites like Booking.com and Agoda. I sorted out options and trying out different types of accommodation just to keep the group together in one room. I kinda gave up and chose Zee Thai Hostel. According to the map, the hostel is almost 1k from the Khaosan area, it felt a bit too far.

LOCATION

I thought that it far from the action in Khaosan road. I was wrong. Though the map tells me that it was almost a kilometer away, but the actual walk from the hostel didn’t feel like it.  It was a leisurely 3-5 minute walk along the alleys of boutique hostels. Turns out that being tucked away from the noise of Khaosan became an advantage.

The location also allowed us to hail taxis and tuktuks without worrying abut competing with other tourists. Every night there are also a lot of pop-up shops that sets up their stores in front of the hostel so food isn’t gonna be an issue if you’re lazy to go to Rambuttri alley. During day time there are barbecue shops around the area where we eat to our hearts content! price starts at 10-20 bhat a piece for grilled chicken.

 

ROOMS

My friends definitely love the rooms. Each dorm bed had curtains that provides some privacy when you sleep.  Each room has its own split type climate control, this was awesome for us since we rented the entire dorm room. They left the controls to us so we were able to adjust the temperature to a comfortable level. However if you are staying with other solo travelers, you can still request the front desk to adjust it for you.

 

AMENITIES

Our stay in Zee Thai Hostel was really comfortable. We would just hang out at the common area and watch cable TV or movies online on their massive smart TV during our free time. Other travelers take advantage of the free use the computer while some just play with the instruments around or read a book that is readily available from the shelves.

 

One thing though that really convinced me that Zee Thai Hostel is one of, if not the best hostel near Khaosan; The washer! It was our group’s last day together -them going back to Manila and me staying behind for business. I had to decide whether I’d extend in Zee Thai Hostel or move on to a cheaper one. Then while hanging out on their roof deck a poster caught my attention. It said yes its free to use! Along with photos of hotel amenities including the clothes washer!  Having clothes washed  will cost you about  $1-2 per kilo and if you have jackets and pants that would cost a lot! So I thought that instead of having my clothes done for me I’d rather stick to this nice hostel and wash my own clothes. I actually saved money by not moving to a cheaper hostel!

For digital nomads, the hostel’s  internet connection is just awesome. We can download an entire album in just minutes on our phones! I was also able to upload photos from a recent wedding I covered in less than 15 minutes!

PRICE

The Zee Thai Hostel offers different price ranges depending on what season, month and how long you will be staying. They offer good discount during lean season and extra discounts for people who will be staying long term in the hostel. We were able to secure our beds for about $8 a night. Being the one who booked for the group, I initially felt that it was a bit pricey.  That notion though changed when we got to the hostel, The interior was so refreshing and the staff was just so warm in welcoming us.

THE VERDICT

I’d say that the Zee Thai hostel is a great choice if you want to stay near Khaosan and still want to have some peace and quite when you retire for the day. There can be other options that way cheaper than the Zee Thai Hostel  if you are trying to slow down your spending – I use to stay in a $2 hostel. However, if you spending a few more dollars is not an issue, or if you are staying for a few days and you want to enjoy your trip without breaking the bank Zee Thai Hostel can be the best choice for you.

Backpackers hanging out at the roof deck.

Zee Thai Hostel
Address: 258/1, บ้านพานถม, พระนคร, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
(258/1 Wisut Kasat Road Pranakorn 10200 Bangkok, Thailand)
Phone: +66 97 201 6317

Phnom Penh Hostel: The Billabong Hostel

Off from the main street we took a turn to a connecting alley where the hostel is nestled. I have five friends with me booked in an eight bed dorm room all paid for by us. We were kinda excited about this Phnom Penh hostel property because they have a pool and good reviews in Booking.com and Agoda.com. We were trying to manage our expectations though, so we don’t get a broken heart. Many sites try to pull the better reviews up on the ranks so that people see them first and sometimes can be rigged by the hotel them selves, but this time I think we hit jackpot and found the best Phnom Penh Hostel!

phnom penh hostel

Location

The Hostel is just walking distance from the Phnom Penh Central Market where you can explore a lot of Khmer products, food and souvenirs. If you are coming from Viet Nam via MekongExpress, you will be dropped off at the Orussey Market 500 meters away from the best Phnom Penh Hostel, The Billabong Hostel.

There are restaurants near by where you can dine out and drink with friends over good food at night. In the morning if you don’t fancy the hotel breakfast, you can roam around the area and find great street food that offers grilled port and chicken with rice.

phnom penh hostel

Rooms

I learned that the hostel was formerly branded as a hotel. Hence, they have enough private rooms and with the expansion of their brand to the hostel market they were able to add more rooms into their inventory. This could be the reason why it felt like I was staying in an upscale property during our stay. I mean the rooms are incredibly clean and sound proof!

The dorms have wide beds, enough space for your to roll over and over (LOL), and has nice support to the back giving you a good night sleep. Climate control inside the room (air conditioning) is also nice and cool the whole day so if you decide to have a lazy day you’d be tucked in a nice and cozy bed.

The Billabong Hostel also have the bathrooms inside the dorms so you don’t have to go out and travel back wet along a corridor. This is what my friends love the most about this hostel.

phnom penh hostel

Amenities

The pool, that is what got me the first time I saw this property. I looove pools! Specially when traveling around Southeast Asia where temperatures can sometimes be unforgiving. I had to manage my expectations at first because for the price that wee pay per head was unbelievable. I was hesitating thinking how can a property this good be so affordable! But I was wrong the property did proved to be what its reviews are saying that it is the best Phnom Penh hostel.

The pool was clean and clear without that strong smell of chlorine where  guests can just soak under the Sun by the pool and take a quick dip when it becomes a bit too hot.

phnom penh hostel

Next to the pool is the restaurant where you can order food and refillable coffee. Yep refillable, that one got my heart hahahaha! they have a good menu that offers light and heavy meals good for both westerners and Asian guests. If you are staying in a private room, breakfast actually is included in your room’s price.

Billabong Hostel also provides towels and padlocks for lockers ($10 deposit required) that are big enough to fit small luggage. I really appreciate that they provide these since it takes away the burden from me in packing up wet towels in my backpack.

The Verdict 

Even if we only stayed for one night, I would give The Billabong Hostel 5/5 rating. Value for money incredible and location is just perfect! Their staff speaks really good English and doesn’t need to be called for them to assist. My friends were so happy with the time we spent their even if it was a short while in the best Phnom Penh hostel. I just delighted to have discovered The Billabong Hostel. Now I don’t have to think of anywhere else to bring my guests whenever in Phnom Penh.

 

The Billabong Hostel 
No. 5 Street 158, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
www.thebillabonghotel.com
Contact Info
+855 (0) 23 223 703
+855 (0) 92 229 306
info@thebillabonghotel.com
FB: @billabonghostelphnompenh

Siem Reap Hostel: Garden Village Guesthouse and Pool Bar

Cambodia can be pretty awesome when it comes to accommodation and they can be pretty cheap if you know what and where to look for them. You might also be surprised on how epic they can be. So on my first Indochina trip last year, I made sure to find the best hostel that I can and I think I found one of Siem Reap’s hidden gem of an accommodation The Garden Village Guesthouse and Pool Bar

Location

This hostel is tucked in along one of the small alleys of Sok San road just about a hundred meters off of Pub Street and the Night Market road making. Its location is ideal as it makes points of interest are just walking distance

The hostel also has a 24 hour reception so anyone can check in at any time that they arrive in Siem Reap. They also offer free bus station and airport transfers!

Rooms

Most of the rooms are air conditioned so you don’t have to worry about melting under the Cambodian weather. They are also cleaned every day by the hostel staff making sure that you are comfortable during your stay. The bed I had was in an 6 bed room (I don’t like big dorms) though they also have bigger dorms (16  and 8 bed dorms) that costs way lesser. If you are looking for some more privacy they also offer private rooms at a very affordable price.

 

Facilities and Service

As the name suggests the hostel features a nice pool and a bar that comes alive at night with backpackers trying to have a great time. Drinks are also at a reasonable price and I’m pretty sure that you’ll have an epic night partying. This Siem Reap hostel also has a nice soccer and beach volley ball court where you can play a good game with your new found friends.

Siem Reap Hostel

The best part that I love most about this hostel is that they have a 24 hour kitchen where you can order their awesome drip coffee at any time of the day, yeah coffee addict here. How much is their coffee you might ask? 1 freakin’ dollar! This Siem Reap hostel also amazes me of their service. Hostels usually tend to be lean towards being self service, but the Garden Village Guesthouse and Pool bar has a ridiculous number of staff at any given time that are ready to assist you of anything that you need giving you some sort of Hotel vibe. They also have a concierge desk where you can book your bus tickets which is awesome since they’ll also be the one who’ll coordinate with the bus company to pick you up from the hostel.

 

Siem Reap Hostel

Siem Reap Hostel

How Much This Siem Reap Hostel Costs?

Now here’s the bomb. You can get a bed at this hostel for as low as $4 for their non air conditioned dorm, the bed that I got though only costs $6! I mean, I’d be staying with lesser people in a room that is air conditioned. You just can’t over look what value that extra $2 gives you. Yeah that cheap!

There are other Siem Reap hostels that you can find that has pool but I think the Garden Village Guesthouse and Pool Bar is one of the best there is in Siem Reap.

 

Like this hostel? Check rates at  5_logo_booking-435x712x-435x712x  or   agoda-logo

Singapore Hotel: Marina Bay Sands

As a backpacker, you know that I am not a big fan of luxury accommodations. So when the opportunity came to experience the hotel at no cost (thanks to my cousin – so pretty 😉 ) I jumped into it right away. The Marina Bay Sands, located in Marina Bay in Singapore, is an integrated resort touted to be the most expensive in the country. The property is not only famous for offering 5 star service. The building it self has become a tourist attraction as its top shows to be shaped as a big ship.

Marian Bay Sands

While the Marina Bay Sands hotel also has a massive shopping mall and casino. The main draw for non gambling tourists is actually the ship shaped roof deck of the hotel.  The roof deck allows people see Singapore from a bird’s point of view during the day and a crazy party spot at night. While the viewing deck and the roof deck club is a great spot, people actually check-in in the Marina Bay Sands because of its unbelievably beautiful infinity pool.

What I Like About The Marina Bay Sands

The Rooms

Obviously, the Marina Bay Sands exudes luxury throughout the hotel. The rooms are spacious and offers a great view of  either the Gardens by the bay or a gorgeous view of the city.  The room that we got at first was the Grand Club Room thinking that it was on the higher floors. The room was spacious at 79 sqm with a stunning view of the Gardens By The Bay. However, since we were looking for a room at the higher floors at tower three we asked to be relocated. Why? Tower three has the access to the Infinity pool and it would be more convenient to access the pool from the higher floors. We made a mistake of booking the Grand Club Room assuming it would be on higher floors. We thought so because it was more expensive, well lesson learned. Thankfully the hotel was easy to deal with.

marina bay sands

 

The Infinity Pool

One, if not the biggest draw for people to stay in the Marina Bay Sands is the Infinity Pool. It stands to be the worlds largest rooftop infinity pool there is. Honestly, I never imagined my self seeing this awesome view from the pool. Like I said I am not a fan of paying so much, yet still the rooftop infinity pool was something to experience at least once in a lifetime. Yeah, you can call me lucky.

The Infinity pool faces the beautiful Singapore skyline. Since check in time was at 3 PM we only got to catch the sunset and it was beautiful. The pool may be a bit crowded that day since it was a weekend but the view was still mesmerizing. We enjoyed the sun while lounging on the sun beds until sunset.

Marina Bay Sands

 

marina bay sands

The Location

The Marina Bay Sands is very accessible. In fact, it is directly connected to one of the MRT Stations. It’s that convenient! The hotel is also just across the Gardens By The Bay so I just crossed the street and I was there! The Merlion and the famous Singapore skyline is also just a short walk away from the hotel passing by the Science Museum and Esplanade and through the iconic Helix Bridge.

What I Didn’t Like About The Marina Bay Sands

Thinking that the Marina Bay Sands is one of the most expensive hotels in Singapore, I was quite surprised about their pool. Why? Well, the pool is freaking cold!!! Yep the infinity pool is not heated. I had to brave the cold water on sunset. Your body will eventually adapt, of course but it could have been a way more comfortable if it was heated!

Another thing that I felt off about the hotel is when we checked in. Checking-in an expensive hotel should feel classy and sophisticated. But when we checked in at the Marina Bay Sands, it felt like we were in a Mall! The interior felt too stiff that even the high ceilings didn’t compensate the feel that I was looking for. The staff wasn’t actually that bad, but I feel that they could be a bit more polite and warmer. Just saying that I’ve experience better hospitality before.

What I Think About The Marina Bay Sands

If you can afford it go ahead it is worthwhile experience. Sitting at the roof deck under the Sun in the morning and watching the Sunset at night was awesome. But if you feel that you’d actually spend this into something more and stretch it further I’d say skip it. What I am just trying to say is that do it only if you really like it. I don’t have strong recommendation like it should be a must do, that your Singapore experience will be incomplete without it. But then it would be like a cherry to your icing if you do. If you have around a hundred USD and couple more friends to split the cost with and you want it, go push for it!

 

Help this site by booking this hotel through agoda-logo your booking through this link helps keep this site running.

 

Got a different experience with the Marina Bay Sands? Leave your story at the comment section, let us know!