Osaka: Home Hostel

Can’t fit in the whole building here but Home Hostel truly stood out amongst the gaudy loud buildings in Sinsekai.

The reason why I picked this spot instead of the more popular areas like Namba is because Home Hostel is a skip away from Spa World, Don Quixote (for snacks to bring home) and has a train station with direct train to Kansai International Airport.

Sinsekai is the “New World” town of Osaka. On first look, the vibe is gaudy, almost like Gayworld in Singapore. The area is filled with Kushikatsu restaurants (fried skewers) that arose due to the huge Pachinko (arcade and slot machine centres) and Spa World (onsen theme park).  The buildings are adorned with huge lanterns, vibrant colours and gaming machines.

Due to its nature of the activity – the crowds veer towards the middle-aged men but there really isn’t anything to worry about!

Enter the building and you spy beautiful wall murals all around. The left is the wall of shoe lockers. One of their staff members is an artist.

This is a family-run hostel which explains their cosy vibes. The owner often brings his child to the hostel.

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Penang Hostel: Container Hostel

I stayed a night in Penang as part of my overland journey to Bangkok. I was looking for a simple stay near the ferry as the night was meant to break up the monotony of the overland trip.

Container Hotel was more of a hostel than a hotel and it was situated right by the ferry. It’s a great no-frills stay if you’re not too picky.

Container Hotel group operates multiple hotels in Malaysia, including Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur. The concept is similar, a budget hotel option housed in containers. You can’t see it from the exterior but inside, the rooms are made in refurbished containers.

We stayed in the female private pod which was super affordable. Your privacy is accorded with the black out blinds.

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Taiwan: Star Hostel (Taipei Main Station)

My friends and I joke that instead of going for a holiday, we went for a staycation at Star Hostel (Taipei) because we were too comfy to leave the hostel!

Probably of the higher price point than its competitors, and rightfully so, Star Hostel is one of the more beautiful and comfortable hostels I’ve stayed in despite some minor inconveniences.

The hostel is in the heart of Taipei, being one street away from Taipei Railway, Metro and Bus Station. Nestled within a residential area, it means you’re never short of eating options and convenience stores.

Check in and reception

You’re greeted by this mini tree house when you first step out of the lift.

The check in process is simple enough, pass them your itinerary and passport and you’re on your way.

Red flag no. 1: While Star Hostel states that it is serviced by an elevator, there is still one flight of stairs within the hostel that you may need to climb.

It seems quite common for Taiwanese hostels to require indoor slippers within the facilities. Beep your hostel card at the security door to enter.

Shoe lockers: switch your outdoor shoes for indoor slippers

The 8-bed mixed dorm

We are used to communal living, hence, staying in hostels are the norm for us.

There were a couple of ground rules: No eating and hanging of clothes in the dorm which meant that the room smelled clean at all times.

The bunk was also comfortable, I fell asleep very quickly for most of the times. Each bunk has a locker secured by RFID card. If you have a small-mid sized luggage, it would probably fit into the locker.

Red flag no.2: Although something which I did not get was the design of the shelf which meant that you’d have to think of creative ways to prop your adapters because of the lack of allowance for top cables.

Shower facilities

Red flag no. 3: There are only two female and three mixed gender showers within the hostel to be shared between 5 dorms (approx 36 pax). However, I never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a shower.

Mixed gender showers

I like that there is a wet and dry area within the shower cubicle so that you can dress with ease.

Vanity area in ladies showers

The lounge

Probably our favourite spot in the hostel, we spent most of our nights in the lounge area doing our individual work.

Kitchen, cafe and breakfasts

This is where breakfasts is served in the morning.

Thursday

Friday

Friday

Sunday

Sunday

At night, this turns into a bar

At night, the serving area turns into a bar

Verdict

The Good

  1. The superb location near all modes of transport makes travel really accessible and simple. Moreover, at Taipei Main Railway, you can hop on an express bus to Taoyuan Airport.
  2. The facilities are comfortable and clean, it almost feels like a staycation to us
  3. The ground rules set the hostel up for a great stay. Our roomies were considerate and non-existent for most parts. If you’re looking for a quiet and comfortable stay, this is for you.
  4. A convenience store settles your midnight craves and there are multiple eateries within a few steps. Try the crispy milk donut across the road!

Pro Tip: If you’re having a late night flight, you can leave your luggage at the hostel while you have a wander in the day. When you pick up your stuff, you can also request for a shower and hang out in the lounge. before you leave.

The Not So Goods

  1. Initially, I was worried having to wait for a shower. However, during my 5-night stay, I didn’t have to wait more than 5-10 minutes for a shower.
  2. The design of the power point and shelve in bed really don’t make functional sense to me.
  3. I was a little miffed at their marketing copy which stated that the hostel was serviced by a lift – which is true technically but the hostel failed to share that there were still internal stairs.

During our stay, Star Hostel was at full capacity for most of the time. If you’re looking to stay here, book early!

Hotel Star Hostel
Address 4F, No 50 Huayin St., Datong Dist., Taipei, Taiwan
Opening hours Check in: 1500, Check out: 1100
How to get there Walk from Taipei Main Railway, Metro or Bus Station. From Taoyuan, take KuoKuang Bus 1819 to the last stop.
Google Map Star Hostel

 

Bangkok 2016: The Cube Hostel

My accommodation pick used to be First House but after the endless walking to MRT or BTS in the hot Bangkok sun, I wasn’t going to do the long walks anymore.

Enter The Cube Hostel.

The best thing about the hostel has got to be its prime location. Stroll out Sala Daeng Road, turn left for BTS and right for MRT. Both are approximately 5 minutes walk away.

Image Credit: Google Map

Let’s jump straight to the rooms because that’s what you’re concerned with most right?

Dorms are accessible via key card only

I stayed in an 8-bed female dormitory. 4 nights cost me approximately S$80.

The facilities include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Personal + luggage (mid-sized) lockers
  • Towels
  • Toiletries (Shower gel + shampoo)
  • Free wifi in all areas (but don’t expect fibre speed)

Each dorm requires a key card access. But this does not mean absolute safety – read on to understand why.

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