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Yupp, you read that right. I once paid to sleep on the floor. When I travel I almost always stay in hostels, unless I go somewhere with my parents who pay for a hotel room (yay!), but that happens rarely.
I stay in hostels because of budgets, and because they’re a great place to meet people. It doesn’t matter if I’m traveling solo or with a friend, I always suggest a hostel because hostels are where I meet some of the coolest people.
So now on to my story…
At the time I was living in Phitsanulok, Thailand teaching English and had 5 days off for New Years. Obviously I wanted to go somewhere. So after crossing Koh Phangan off the list because of its crazy prices for flights and hostels (seriously like hostels in Canada are cheaper), I decided on Phuket, the largest island in Thailand and a popular tourist destination.
I was booking late (about a month in advance, but you know New Years) and so I was left with few options. I knew I wanted to be close to a beach and in an area that was as close to the hustle and bustle.
I quickly decided against staying in Phuket Town (not close to the beach) and ended up right in the middle of the action. I seriously could not have gotten any closer. A 3 minute walk to the beach down one street, and that street was Bangla Road.
The most famous road in Phuket known for its party scene at night. I would walk up from underground and find myself in the middle of the street, the music blaring from the many bars packed with people. This hostel was under a mall and you couldn’t hear any of the music once inside.
Not only were there bars, but restaurants, shopping, a 7-11 (yay for even cheaper beer!), a Starbucks, and McDonalds. It’s also a walking street so people were everywhere stumbling around or just browsing, lady boys were posing for pictures, people trying to sell you random light up toys, or tickets to shows.
But back to when I was originally looking for hostels. Most looked really small or sketchy so I ended up booking a capsule hostel, “how cool,” I thought. Only all the capsule beds were booked. The only beds that were still being shown as available were in a “100 bed dorm room.”
Interesting. I booked it and hoped for the best since the location was exactly what I wanted and the price was decent.
I figured it would be an experience…and that I’d catch up on sleep when I was back in Phitsanulok.
This 100 bed dorm room turned out to be very thin mattresses on the floor in the middle of the common room. The rooms with the capsule beds were all off of the common room and had only fabric drapes as doors. The bathrooms were also just past the area where the beds (I mean mattresses) were, so I had a lot of people walking bedside me all throughout the night.
Little sleep happened, but alcohol helped to knock me out for most of the night.
Luckily it was a very quiet hostel so there wasn’t much noise other than on NYE when people sat and chatted in the common room, and people from the rooms would yell and tell them to shut up…only once did a yelling match start.
Ear plugs helped, but I still felt super awkward laying on the floor and having people look at me sleep while they walked by. It was also pretty cold and they only gave 2 thin blankets to cover up.
The hostel was also very clean, had lockers to store all my stuff, and good wifi. I felt safe, and I felt that my stuff was safe.
Would I ever book a 100 bed dorm room again? Absolutely not. I was completely exhausted from little sleep and could barely carry my light backpack by the time I got home after sleeping in the Bangkok airport overnight because of exhaustion.
It was definitely not my best decision as a traveler, but now it’s a funny story. The funniest part? I found out that people who booked only a couple of days before got capsule beds. Though I didn’t think it was very funny at the time.
It was slightly cheaper to sleep in the common room, but it still cost me about 300 baht ($11.25 CAD) a night (including breakfast…which was also in the common room every morning).
When it came to this situation I asked myself what my priority was, and it was location and a big enough hostel to meet people. I didn’t die from lack of sleep, and I did meet some cool people.
Regrets? None. Fun? Yupp. Experience? Lived and learned a little.
What’s the worst decision you’ve made as a traveler?
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