No hotel? Where are you going to stay? It’s not a silly question because the vast majority of visitors to foreign countries only think about staying in traditional accommodation, and it doesn’t get more conventional than a hotel. Plus, there’s not much to dislike as the rooms are comfortable, they serve food, and have a pool to keep the family entertained.
So, when it comes to Southeast Asia, a trip you’ve been planning for the past few months, you might be surprised to learn that hotels don’t present the best value for money. There’s no doubt they are affordable, yet money isn’t the only criteria to consider when choosing a place to stay.
To get the most from your Asian adventure, you should think about the host of options on the table. These are the reasons why it is worth ignoring hotels in this part of the world.
They Are In The Same Places
Southeast Asia is very commercialised, with a handful of places acting as the centre of the countries that welcome foreign guests. For example, in Bangkok, you’ll probably end up in the Siam area as it’s family-friendly and not full of backpackers. Therefore, all the hotels on your list will be within a small radius.
There’s nothing wrong with staying in nice places, especially if they have good infrastructure and let you travel the city or town easily. Still, you end up living in a bubble for two weeks, not getting to know the area. It’s different with an Airbnb or apartment since the locals tend not to live in the tourist traps.
As a result, you get to experience what Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Hanoi is really like from a resident’s perspective, which is a lot cooler. It will definitely open your eyes to new customs and cultures!
Nice Regions Are Cheap
Money will always play a part in your decision. After all, flights to Malaysia aren’t cheap, so when you land in Kuala Lumpur, you want to check-in to a place that strikes an ideal balance between affordable and comfortable. However, you’re thinking with your European mind, assuming the living costs will be high.
They aren’t steep in Southeast Asia. Whether you’re eating out or going to the cinema, you can expect to pay a lot less than you would in France or Italy. The same applies to accommodation options throughout the major cities. Palm Spring in Selangor is full of residential condos, any of which would make a fantastic base for a family.
Not only are the transport links in the suburbs handy, but you can rent an entire condo for less than you would usually spend on a European hotel room. It’s a no-brainer!
There are horror stories about Southeast Asian hotel rooms that will send shivers down your spine. Okay, it’s worth pointing out that bad experiences happen everywhere, and you would have to be unlucky. But, some of the problems are hard to solve, which means they’re everywhere.
For instance, the drainage system in Asia is hit and miss, so you might get rising or standing water in the bathroom. Also, there are instances of bed bugs. Pests are why lots of travellers opt for apartments and condos. In a bigger space, you can use the air conditioning to keep mosquitoes at bay. At the very least, you can light scented candles.
You don’t get the same freedom in a hotel room, so they are harder to deal with. Plus, a flat in a nice area will have superior infrastructure, which means the cleanliness shouldn’t be a problem.
As more people land in Southeast Asia, the hotels need to think of clever and novel ways to fit them in without turning paying customers away. The solution is a pod, a tiny claustrophobic sleeping capsule that is just big enough to fit a person.
Of course, these are unsuitable for families, yet it’s getting tougher to find a quality hotel room that is of a decent size. Even if you don’t book a pod, the spaciousness in Southeast Asian hotel rooms isn’t ideal since lots of the big cities are megalopolises with tens of millions of people. Combine that with visitors, and there’s not enough space to swing a cat in central areas.
The good news is, there is plenty more room in the spacious suburban apartments outside of the city centres. You’re not as central, but it’s worth the extra commute to avoid suffering from a bout of claustrophobia!
Are you a hotel person, or have you changed your mind?