Vang Vieng, Laos : Easy Go!

It was so good to be back in Vang Vieng, Laos.  I spent 12 nights in August 2012 in Easy Go Backpackers Hostel, few days before the tubing activity got shut down (re-open again) by Laos PDR government and all the bars along the river and also on the “party island” being torn down and torched.
1495351_10152110428123055_1999948501_o
I am not gonna touch the tubing shut-down issue here as I already did.
Coming back to Vang Vieng in 2013, 2014 and the whole month of April in 2015, brought me straight to Easy Go Backpackers Hostel without thinking twice. They’ve improved a lot! Last year, they only have few rooms and few beds. This year, they extend it to bigger volume. Not only that; from self-made wood and bamboo beds with thin mattresses and mosquito nets full of holes everywhere, now they get a proper beds with better mattresses and good mosquito nets. Although they’ve improved in that area, they still maintain the chill, backpackers-friendly environment, Laotian-style. Bamboo walls, cross-legs common area with floor mattresses, dining table and chairs, coffee & tea and hot water. The pool table is still there next to the reception counter, wifi still working although not the best, toilet & bathroom still the same and lockers still there too. And for less than USD$3 a night, I am not complaining!
The best part of this hostel is the view from the common area – facing the mountains that lay just next the Nam Song (Song River). The panoramic view is just breath-taking especially in the morning and during sunset. It is just very beautiful.
Should you come to Vang Vieng, Laos PDR, I strongly recommend you to stay in Easy Go Backpackers Hostel which you can book via Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. If those website are too difficult for you, check on their facebook 🙂 Cheers!
20489_10153280700463055_1207719639012545749_n
Note: Easy Go (with sister company Spicy Lao) recently open a brand new Easy Go branch in 4000 Islands (Don Det), Laos.

Hanoi, Vietnam : Hanoi Celntral Backpackers Hoste

hcb

Address (Hostel 1) :
Hanoi Central Backpackers Hostel 
No. 16 Ly Quoc Su Street
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Vietnam
Address (Hostel 2) :
Hanoi Central Backpackers Hostel II
No. 11 Hang Manh Street
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Vietnam
Address (Hostel 3) : *the biggest, newest*
Hanoi Central Backpackers Hostel Old Quarters
No. 16 Thanh Ha Street
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Vietnam

 

Charge: USD$5 per night for 8-beds dorm room with free simple breakfast froom 7:00am-10:am (all 3 hostels) and free flow of local fresh beer (bia hoi) everynight during beer-o’clock hour 7:30pm-8.30pm. Also other offers like free shots, cocktails, etc. (hostel 1 & 3). Also, free pub crawling guided tour with special deals!
All 3 hostels also offers private rooms at good rate.
  • Free wi-fi in a room and free computer/internet usage in common area.
  • En-suite bathroom/toilet in every dormitory, with hot & cold shower.
  • 24 hours air-conditioning
  • Balcony (hostel 1 only)
  • Hair-dryer to borrow from the receptionist

 

  • Laundry service for 30,000VND per kilogram
  • Taxi service to the airport for USD$15 per taxi, not per person
  • Tour service to many places including Ha Long Bay, Sapa & Perfume Pagoda
  • Bus, train and flight booking service for domestic & international routes
  • Visa service for any other countries especially Laos, Cambodia, Thailand & China

 

Note: This is not paid neither free advertisement for Hanoi Central Backpackers Hostel chain. 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia : Metropolitan City With A Soul

Kuala Lumpur’s very own Petronas Twin Tower or known as KLCC with the locals is a significant trademark of Malaysia. RM64 (student price) – not complaining. Might sound pretty expensive but for the view and the experience to be on the sky bridge at 41st floor and the view point at 86th floor, it worth the price. I mean, come on, it is not you gonna go up there everyday unless you work there, right? Well, go, if you have a chance to go. A must-visit place if you come to Kuala Lumpur or your visit to Malaysia will be incomplete no matter how many pictures you take below/outside the twin towers.

kl

I stayed in Serendipity Backpackers that situated in the middle of Golden Triangle – Changkat Bukit Bintang – where all the bustling nightlife comes alive when sunset down. RM20 (without breakfast) in a 8-10 beds dormitory room. Pretty OK; with a/c, shared bathrooms/toilets with hot/cold shower. I like the common area where most of the backpackers who stays there hangout chit-chatting, online, watching movies and some just nap!
I also love Travel Hub Guesthouse situated in Chinatown @ Petaling Street. RM22 for a/c dorm, inclusive breakfast. Quite spacious compare to Serenity Backpackers. All beds comes with own power socket and reading lamp. The wifi much better here, too. The fact it is in Chinatown, it is pretty much easy excess to everywhere as the LRT and bus station is nearby.
Batu Caves is a must-visit place if you come to Kuala Lumpur. It is a sacred place for Indians/Hindus. It gonna take a little bit of hard work as you gotta climb up 272 stairs to reach the top.
The rest, ask me. Too many to write about Kuala Lumpur! It is a metropolitan city with soul!

Melaka, Malaysia : UNESCO Heritage City

Melaka @ Malacca “the historic state” is the third smallest state in Peninsular Malaysia located next to the Strait of Malacca (Selat Melaka). Just 2 hours bus ride from Kuala Lumpur. This historical city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 7th July 2008.
Malacca, is heavy influence by it then colony back in 16th, 17th century – the Portuguese; also the Chinese. And well-known for its Baba-Nyonya people. However, Malay still make quite a large population in Malacca. The Chinese people in Malacca especially from the Baba-Nyonya background speaks perfect 10/10 Malay language without any Chinese accent.
summlk
Lots of place to visit in this tiny city such as A’Famosa, Jonker Walk, St.John’s Fort, Melaka River Cruise, Portuguese Square, Taming Sari Tower, Stadthuys, Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum (if you are museum person), Fredrick Hendrick Bastion Archaeological Excavation Site, Bastion Middleburg, Kampung Hulu’s Mosque, Mini Malaysia & Mini ASEAN Park, and maybe shopping malls?
While in Malacca, I stay at the Roof Top Guesthouse. RM25 per night in a 4-beds dormitory. All single beds, no bunk beds. With a/c and quite big wardrobe cabinet, too. The owners of the guesthouse, a local couple were really friendly, helpful and informative. The wife will bake a pastry (roll bun or cake) at night for the guests’ breakfast the next morning. How awesome is that, eh?
I also hang out with the Couchsurfing Malaysia community in Malacca whereby they have their own “port” in the middle of the Chinatown called Zero Art Gallery.

Phuket, Thailand : Beach Bums

Me and Cori met again in Phuket after Krabi. She was at Phi Phi Island before.
We stay together at Pineapple Guesthouse @ Karon Beach area. I used to stay there back in 2009 if I am not mistaken. Quality, cleanliness, environment… still the same like before even the price too! I paid 150THB per night. It was considered low season or else the so-called normal price is 180-200THB. It is the price for 12 beds dormitory (fan) with 2 attached shared bathrooms/toilets. Also there are fridge inside the dorm to keep our food/drinks.
beachbums
We rented a motorbike for 170THB per day (24hours) and moved around from one beach to another – Patong, Karon, Kata, Nai Harn, Rawai…
And I would say Karon Beach is the best beach among all especially when it almost sunset when people no longer jam-packed the area. Back in 2009, Rawai was really really beautiful, clean and the water were so clear. But not anymore. Development took places… people become greedy of money. Sad.
Ahhh… but one thing that managed to make me happy. I got my Swedish meatballs fix again! Twice in Phuket 🙂 One nearby our hostel at Karon. One is somewhere on the way from Nai Harn to Rawai. Awww yeah!

Krabi, Thailand : Pak Up Hostel

Of all backpackers hostel that I ever been, Pak Up Hostel in Krabi, Thailand was the best, ever! But take note, that was in 2012, it might changed nowadays. It is hard to maintain a hostel, you know?
Krabi1
220THB per night, that was pretty cheap for a 5* hostel. Large, solid wood bunk beds (I stayed in 8 beds dormitory, on upper bunk and a person below told me she didn’t feel anything when I go up or down from the upper bunk), good material for bed sheet, pillow case and duvet (yes, duvet!) – almost like cashmere. Clean, spacious toilets and bathrooms with hot/cold showers. Shampoo, shower gel also provided in dispenser. Wire line to hang your wet clothes after wash it in DIY washing machine and if you wanna make it quick, they also have 3 dryers. Internet connection pretty fast too. They also have rooftop bar and live one-man show during my stay.
Free advertisement? Well, yeah because Pak Up was really worth every single penny spent! Although it is in the town, not in Ao Nang or Railey, but it never been a problem for me. Just cross the road and get the pick-up van/lorry (worked fine just like a bus) for very cheap fare.

Bangkok & Hua Hin, Thailand : Travel With John

After more than a month talking to each other about meeting up again finally we met each other again @ BKK Airport and then stay together @ Lucky Guesthouse near to Khao San Road just for 490THB per night. Queen bed, with windows, attached bathroom, hot shower, towels, blanket and nice linen. Oh, and TV too.
4 nights before that, I shared a room with Tara (I first met her when I first came to Bangkok 3 months ago) in Budget Guesthouse exactly in Khao San Road; until the day she left to India and John arrived, me and John moved to Lucky Guesthouse and spent number of nights together.
Bangkok1
This time around, no more sight seeing. Too lazy for that. Enough of temples. Tired of it. But never tired for party. LOL! We went partying 3 nights in a row. Crazy!!! And our favourite rave scene is The Club on Khao San Road. Of course there are lots of other clubs in Bangkok but The Club is just a walking distance, so why not?
Oh, I went to Siam Paragon cinema to watch Loopers staring Gordon Joseph-Levitt and Bruce Willis and I was baffled when people actually need to stand up to Thailand’s national anthem (even you are not local) few minutes before the movie started. That was new to me!
After Bangkok, we moved down south to Hua Hin.
Hua Hin is just 3 hours bus ride down south from Bangkok. Went there with John Joyce and we stayed at Mamas Guesthouse. Awesome guesthouse I must say. 700THB per night for king-sized bed, a/c, wardrobe cabinet, balcony with table and chairs, television, 2+3 sofa, side lamps, fridge, modern toilet and… JACUZZI! Yeap, you read me right – JACUZZI!
After months in SEAsia, for the first time, in Hua Hin, I managed to get my Swedish Meatballs fix from a Swedish restaurant called “Swedish Restaurant”. It was so good, a real Swedish meatballs with creamy mashed potato. Love it! I look like a drug addict that just got her cocaine fix. LOL!
HuaHin
Anyway, Hua Hin is the oldest and most traditional Thai resort combines the attractions of a modern holiday destination with the charm and fascination of a still active fishing port and its great 5 mile long beach.
But, John always left me alone at night to hang out with, errr… you know… those “girls”. Whatever.