Home to Hostel
I’ve been travelling for more than a month now. And to keep cost down, I’ve been staying in hostels, which ranges between $5-10/night in China as well as Vietnam. The reason it is so cheap is because you are sharing a room with other travellers and sleeping in bunk beds with 2 or 3 levels. The average dorms in hostels typically range between 4-6 people. The maximum number of people I’ve shared a room with was 20 in a Hong Kong hostel. As there is only 1 bathroom that is shared between everyone in the dorm room, the wait to shower or use the toilet can be quite long during peak hours in the morning. Furthermore, bathrooms in China and Vietnam generally do not have a bathtub or enclosed shower space. There is just a shower head hanging from the bathroom wall and when you shower, the whole floor, toilet, and sink also get wet. There was only on one occasion that a hostel in Xi’an, China had a curtain that you can use to separate the toilet and sink so they do not get wet as well. Not having a bathtub to save space and cost I understand but why they do not at least have a dividing curtain (which should be fairly cheap) in all the bathrooms, I do not know. It was something I had to get used to while travelling through Asia and I did.
Other than the strange (by Western standards) design of the bathrooms, the worst thing for me about staying in a hostel is sharing the room with other travellers. There is absolutely no privacy and there are always people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. Most people are fairly considerate and try to be quiet as possible when they are coming/going early in the morning or late at night but if you are a light sleeper, your sleep will surely be disturbed. Then there are the people who snore. I usually do not snore unless I am really tired. And apparently I was really tired one night in Guilin, China and snored quite loud because I was woken up in the middle of the night by the guy that slept above me and told that I should get a private room. I thought I was dreaming the next morning because myself, like most others, just cover my head with the blanket to try and drown out the sound of someone who snore. I would never consider and also never actually had someone woke me in up the middle of the night because I snored and told to get a private room. But then I overheard the same guy outside my door talking to the staff there that he would like to switch rooms because there was someone who snores in his room. I felt bad that I kept him awake but at the same time, I was also offended at his inconsiderate behavior of waking me up in the middle of the night. He must have not stayed in hostels before I thought to myself and tried to let it go.
Besides the one isolated incidents above, most travellers I’ve shared dorm rooms with are pretty easygoing. And while sharing a room with others is the worst thing for someone who values his privacy such as myself, it also turned out to be one of the best things. I met a Dutch girl my first day in a hostel and we ended up sightseeing together in Beijing and travelled together to Pingyao and Xi’an. I also met a Hong Kong guy in my room in Beijing who ended up treating me to dinner and showed me around Hong Kong when I visited there 2 weeks later. And while luck of the draw doesn’t always guarantee I’ll get awesome roommates, staying in hostels have been the easiest way to meet other travellers and hang out together. After more than a month of sharing rooms with others however, I was ecstatic to finally get a room all to myself in Sapa, Vietnam for the same cheap price of $7.50/night. And here I met another girl from Australia who was staying in the room right next to mine. We’ve been hanging out for the past two days I’ve been here and it has been pretty awesome because she is quite an amazing woman and quite the world traveller herself. So although I’ve decided to travel solo, I’ve pretty much always had someone to spend time with if I wanted to. It’s been great and I look forward to meeting and making many more friends along the way for the remainder of my trip.
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