180 Days Living in Budget Hotels—How Does It Feel?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Planning | 0 comments

Summary: Just because you are traveling on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to give up comfort and standards. Check out this list of our favorite hotels in Asia and how we found them. This post will answer the question, “How to find a good hotel?”

Here we are on the road again after our five-month stay in France. We decided to spend six months in Asia, where we didn’t have the opportunity to rent apartments as we did in South America. This means we ended up spending a lot of time living in hotels. The good thing is that hotels in Asia are not too expensive. The bad thing is that hotel living prevents you from cooking, so you spend more on food. However, we were able to find very good deals and managed to stay within our budget in both Malaysia and Thailand.

How to Choose a Good Hotel?

Whether you’re planning to stay in a place for one day or one month, choosing the wrong hotel that doesn’t fit your expectations can ruin your stay. This is why it is important to spend some time and do enough research to find the place that will make your stay comfortable and pleasant.

Here are a few tips to help you chose good accommodations.

Hotel California by Kevin Dooley on Flickr

List your priorities

  • What do you need from your hotel? It all depends on the purpose of your stay.
  • Do you just want a place to crash at night?
  • Are you planning to work in your room?
  • Do you have a car or will you rely on public transportation?
  • How much of your budget are you willing to spend on accommodation?
  • Do you need Internet?
  • What kind of room do you want?
  • Are you picky about cleanliness?
  • What about noise issues?

You need to know what is most important for you, so you can exclude hotels you don’t want during your research.

Start your research online

We usually book the first one or two nights in advance when we travel to a new destination, in order to avoid having to search for a place after a tiring flight or train ride. If we’re planning to stay for longer period, we then check after we arrive if there are other options. But if we like the place from the beginning, we typically extend our stay.

There are plenty of websites that facilitate research. We like Agoda and Hostelworld for their wide collection of hotels that match all budgets.

Remember, expensive doesn’t mean better

Just because a hotel is more expensive doesn’t mean that it’s better—and the opposite is true as well. You can find very good, new and clean hotels at cheap prices, so don’t limit your research by using too many filters—especially when it comes to stars.

There are often offers on the Internet (like last minute deals) that allow you to stay in luxurious hotels for a discounted rate that in some cases can save you up to 90%.

Don’t forget to check the location of the hotel you’ve chosen to avoid paying the difference in transportation (unless you have a car or don’t mind being far from everything—although in this case you will need to add the cost of gasoline to your expenses).

The hotel over the lake by Tambako The Jaguar on Flickr

Refund and cancellation policies

To avoid unpleasant surprises if you decide to cancel, before you book a room in a hotel check the refund policies (which often vary according to both the booking websites and the hotel).

Unpredictable events

Even if you choose your hotel carefully, there might be unpredictable events that could make your stay uncomfortable, such as a wedding party or kids’ summer camp checking in at the same time, drunk people coming back in the middle of the night and continuing their party at the hotel, or even alarm systems or smoke detectors being activated. Even in quiet and good hotels these things happen. What you have to do is contact the receptionist (who is usually the only person who can fix the problem)—except in the case of fire alarms, when you should follow the evacuation procedure (you know that, don’t you?).

Here Is a List of our Favorite Hotels

For any hotel we stay at we usually ask for a double room (or twin beds) with private bathroom and Internet Wi-Fi—and we managed to pay no more than $5 to $15 per night per person!

Patong Beach Lodge – Patong, Thailand

Patong Beach Lodge

Patong Beach Lodge

We found this hotel on Agoda. There was an offer and we could have a double room with private bathroom for $10! We stayed there 10 days, and were able to enjoy the swimming pool despite the fact that we were still in the rainy season. Though the hotel is in downtown Patong it was not noisy at all, as it is not located directly on the main street.

Tune Hotel – Patong and Hat Yai, Thailand

Tune Hotel Hat Yai

Tune Hotel Hat Yai

Tune Hotels is part of AirAsia’s chain for budget travelers, so they have hotels all around Asia. You will find the same standards in each Tune hotel and the rooms look the same everywhere. This is a budget hotel chain, and we experienced our first Tune hotel in Patong on Agoda. We got a very good deal and stayed three weeks. What we appreciate most about Tune Hotels is the cleanliness and the fact that all the hotels are brand new.

Traveller Homestay – Kuching, Malaysia

Traveller Homestay Kuching

We booked this guesthouse online through Agoda. We stayed there two days as all the rooms were with shared bathroom only. We then checked almost all the other guesthouses in town and found out that this one was definitely the best. The owner is very friendly, the rooms are clean, and we had a window! (We found a lot of cheap rooms and hotels in Kuching, but many of them were not very clean and didn’t have windows, which is pretty common in Asia). The Traveller Homestay is very stylish and the best guesthouse option.

Grand Supreme Hotel – Kuching, Malaysia

Grand Supreme Hotel Kuching

Grand Supreme Hotel Kuching

We stayed five weeks at this hotel. We found it by ourselves (though the hotel is on Agoda and Trip Advisor) by searching the city for the best option for a long stay. What we liked most in this hotel was the professional attitude of the staff and the very friendly environment. The hotel is located about 15 minutes walking from downtown Kuching. We had a room with breakfast so that we could enjoy the very pleasant restaurant as well.

Q Hotel – Bangkok, Thailand

Q Hotel Bangkok

We found the Q Hotel in Bangkok on Agoda. There was an offer and we had a very good room for half the normal price. We stayed there five days. The hotel is a little far from the subway station (25 minutes walking). What we liked most was the huge bed and the cleanliness of the hotel.

Basicline Hotel – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Basicline Hotel Chiang Mai

We stayed one month in this hotel that we found by ourselves in Chiang Mai. This is also a brand new hotel and we had a good deal. The hotel is located near the night bazaar and the rooms look like the Tune Hotel rooms, but with a personal touch. The staff is very friendly and the rooms very clean.

Tamarind Guesthouse – Ayutthaya, Thailand

Tamarind Guesthouse Ayuttaya

Tamarind Guesthouse Ayuttaya

Though we only stayed one night at Ayuttaya, this hotel was definitely one of our best. Located just a few meters from one of the most popular old temples in Ayutthaya (the one with the head of the Buddha trapped in the tree roots). Rooms are very stylish and the owners extremely kind and helpful. The only problem is that the hotel is almost full all the time and we had to wait to check in until 2pm which was not a big deal as this delay allowed us to visit the town. We would advise anyone willing to stay at the Tamarind Guesthouse to book in advance to be sure to have a room.

Matcha Resort – Koh Lanta, Thailand

Matcha Resort Koh Lanta

Matcha Resort Koh Lanta

We found this hotel—which is definitely a good deal—on the Internet through Agoda. Rooms are very comfortable, the hotel is two minutes walk from the beach, and there are plenty of restaurants and two supermarkets nearby the resort. We spent 10 days there and had a very pleasant stay.

Where was your favorite hotel and how much did you pay?

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