Recommendations

I highly recommend using Agoda for all of your hotel and hostel bookings. The points system (you get points for writing reviews in addition to booking) is awesome, the reviews are numerous and for the most part detailed, and their customer service is so far outstanding. They won’t have the ABSOLUTE cheapest, but for price for quality (and still quite a low price!) they’re the best. ESPECIALLY in Asia.

Below are all my traveling recommendations between 2013-2015. I’ve listed the year next to each listing for reference, organized by continent, country, and then city.

CAMBODIA
Siem Reap
Jasmine Guest House (2013)
$8 a night for air conditioned dorm, towel use, and choice of big breakfast included
Very very clean facilities. AND a beautiful pool and loungers! 2000R moto to Pub Street
The owners are really awful but the price and quality makes up for their rudeness.

European Guest House (2013)
$5 for an AC dorm room
Great and inexpensive restaurant, clean facilities, and great staff

Phnom Penh
Okay Guesthouse (2013)
$10 for your own AC room with ensuite bathroom
Super clean, super cold AC, TV with English channels. The manager is the absolute nicest guy on the planet. Great location, can walk to Riverside

Kratie
Balcony Guest House (2013)
$5 for a fan room, shared bathroom
Air con is not needed, plus the electricity shuts off all the time so its pointless anyway. The manager is awesome and helpful, definitely book all your bus and tours through him. The restaurant is well priced and the namesake balcony is breezy

Sihanoukville
GBT (2013)
$10 for an air con room with ensuite bathroom
Very clean, decently priced restaurant, and GREAT location a 5 minute walk from the beach. Wifi is spotty
The location and price is excellent, but do NOT buy your bus tickets from these guys – they will lie right to your face

Indonesia
Bali- Ubud
Sayong House (2014)
Dewi Sita Street-Maruti Lane
15USD air conditioned “house” with private bathroom and free breakfast
AMAZING. Everything about Sayong is great – the location is right off the main street, the complex is beautiful and has a swimming pool, the employees are super friendly, and the breakfast is amazing (eggs fruit and toast of your choice, served to your porch). I meant to stay two nights, and stayed my ENTIRE ten day trip. I’d recommend booking your first night through Agoda, and then paying in cash for the rest. One of the guys even gave me a super cheap and awesome motorbike ride to the airport which is quite a ways away but saved me a LOT of money.

Laos
Vientiane
Vientiane Garden Home (2014)
056 Sihome road. Ban sihome
38USD AC room with private bathroom and free breakfast
Laos in general is a bit pricier for decent accomodation than Thailand. However, this place was really nice, and even included a pool. The breakfast was buffet and the room was immaculate and even had English TV. The manager and staff are super friendly as well.

Vang Vieng
Inthira Vang Vieng (2014)
21USD AC room with private bathroom and free breakfast
A bit pricey for what it is, but clean, and with TV. Not too loud and conveniently located.

MALAYSIA
Penang
Muntri House (2013)
22 RM for a female dorm bed with free breakfast
Very clean, interesting historical building, and GREAT location in the center of everything

Cameron Highlands
Father’s (2013)
20 RM (not on Agoda) for mixed dorm bed, AC
Very spotlessly clean and new, tons of common areas, huge hotel/dorm, very helpful owner/manager
Book any of your tours through them, as it is Father’s company itself that runs them

Kuala Lumpur
Irsia (2013)
27 RM AC mixed dorm with free breakfast
I go to KL often, and ALWAYS stay here. The owner and staff are amazing and helpful, the dorm is clean and has a good common area and Wifi, and the location is unbeatable – right behind Berjaya Times Square mall

MYANMAR
Yangon
Agga Youth Hotel/Agga Guest House (2014)
24 USD AC room with private bathroom, free breakfast (NO VEG OPTION)
Conveniently located, relatively inexpensive, very clean (please note these are two hotels located very near and owned by the same group. I’ve stayed at both and they are basically the same)

THAILAND
Bangkok – Khao San Road
Suneta (2013)
400 Baht AC mixed dorm with toast breakfast
Hands down the best dorm in KSR area – and the best dorm ANYWHERE. The owners and staff are absolutely above and beyond, doing everything to help their guests (while I was there a traveler was sick from bad water and someone stayed with him all night, getting him medicine and food). The hostel is beautiful, clean, has a great common area, and is stylishly designed

Bangkok – Silom
Urban Age (2013)
250 Baht AC mixed dorm
Super conveniently located off of BTS Sala Daeng, less than 5 minute walk. The hostel is (reasonably) clean, though the AC shuts off during the day and the bathrooms get a little grungy at times, its great for the price

Lebua State Hotel (2014)
209USD Luxury suite with  city view in the Tower Club
Obviously a splurge but worth it! The price includes an amazing international buffet breakfast for two, in addition to access to all of the hotel’s amenities (amazing pools, restaurants, lounges) AND the best of all – full day access for two to the Tower Club Lounge which includes unlimited alcoholic drinks (top class, also wine) and all of the day’s buffets, which includes various meats, cheeses, salads, chocolates, desserts (must select a room in the “Tower Club” for this option)

Bangkok – Lower Sukhumvit
City@50 (2013)
200 Baht AC mixed dorm
While a bit of a walk (15 minutes or so from BTS On Nut), this place is so worth it. Cheap, new, ridiculously clean, AND A POOL ON THE ROOF, its unbeatable. I’ve stayed here a total of a month

Khao Yai
National Park (2014)
300THB fan-cooled cabin in the park, private bathroom
You can book online using the national park reservation system, and then go to the park headquarters to check-in to your room. We couldn’t check in before afternoon. The cabin was clean, quiet, and best of all, in the center of the park so you can walk around/drive after closing and see deer and monkeys like we did, or elephants (which we did not unfortunately see)

Baancake Khao Yai (2014)
666/1 Phu Praw Fah M.7, A. Pakchong, Khao Yai
20USD studio mountain roof view
We arrived super later at night after getting lost on our way from the winery – the manager still let us check in and was very kind. The room was amazing and one-of-a-kind, a little house with a stairway up to a private rooftop balcony!

Koh Phi Phi
Marine House (2014)

Koh Tao
Koh Tao Hillside (2014)
19/4 Moo 1 Koh Tao
73USD sea view bungalow with private bathroom and private balcony
Totally worth the splurge. The view of the ocean and privacy was amazing, as was the breakfast. I would recommend renting an ATV or motorbike if staying here, as it is a bit of a walk from Sarai. Also, I wouldn’t recommend it for the elderly or ill, as the bungalows are located at the very bottom of a very steep hill. Sometimes there is a golf cart available to take you down (or even more importantly, UP), though.

Pai
Baan Pai Riverside (2014)
190 Moo 1 T.Mae Hee A.Pai, Pai, Thailand
12USD, fan-cooled bungalow
The location was great, right next to the “town” of Pai (you have to cross the little bamboo bridge). Super quiet, clean, with a hammock to relax on the porch.

Railay
Railay Garden View (2014)
40USD sea-view bungalow with fan, private bathroom, free breakfast
My favorite hotel, EVER. You get an amazing cute private bungalow, with a little porch that faces onto the sea and cliffs. Monkeys climb in the trees, the other bungalows are far enough away that you feel like you’re in your own island paradise. THE BEST.

UNRECOMMENDED VENDORS

The following are a list of hotels, services, and other miscellaneous businesses that I have had bad experiences with (and these businesses chose not to resolve the issue when given the chance), that I would wholeheartedly NOT recommend.

Brazil
Hertz Car Rental – upon arriving after two days worth of flights (from Thailand, two stopovers in Africa, and finally arriving in Sao Paolo), the Hertz booth at the airport was closed for problems and we had to take a shuttle to the pickup. No problem. Once arrived, they had oversold our reserved vehicle, and offered us a complimentary upgrade (YAY! Problem solved… right?). Once arriving in Rio, we returned the car and were charged outrageously high for the upgrade that was offered to us complimentary (and that we didn’t want and would not have taken if our car was available). After arguing with the AWFUL sales staff in Sao Paolo via the phone, we eventually gave up. Never again would I do business with such a dishonest and untrustworthy company.

HOTEL

Thailand
Koh Mook Charlie Resort – I booked this location specifically after checking if they have internet available (I needed it for work), as it is in a remote location and I knew I wouldn’t be near cafes or other alternative wifi locations. Once arriving, in fact there was not wifi for guests, not even in the common areas (lobby, etc). The hotel had wifi available for staff use, but not guests (as advertised, and as confirmed before I booked), and the password would not be given. When I attempted to cancel my reservation on this basis, it was denied. I left two nights early anyways. Awful staff and awful service.

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