Accommodation is usually one of the things that take significant part of our budget when we travel. Hotels are expensive especially in touristy areas so I usually try to find cheap alternatives… and that’s when hostel becomes best to save on lodging.
When I hear hostel, I usually think of budget-friendly, old dirty houses, crumbling in red-light district with rooms shared for all sorts of people, where mattresses and pillows are stained, where corners are infested with mice, where strangers steal other people’s belongings… where there’s a psycho bound to kill his occupiers. Okay, okay I’m kidding. That’s from too much memory of an American horror movie.
Anyway, for a reason or two, we have bad impressions about hostels. But I realized that not all are venue for frat parties. With a few research and review-reading, chances are great that you’ll find clean, cozy hostels where you’ll feel like you’re part of a family. It was my first time to try in Penang and I was pleasantly surprised.
We initially stayed in Hydro Hotel. It’s within Batu Ferringhi and there’s Miami Beach (above photo) across the street but we found out that it is not a convenient place to stay. The hotel is situated within middle-class residential areas and not near to any interesting sight if you wanted to go for a walk.
The beach is rocky and not well-maintained (a few garbage scattered and a stinky smell) and the surrounding is boring. Only few people were swimming (3 to be exact) and there were no water activities. Although, they have a few shops along the beach, it doesn’t have the live ambiance that we wanted.
It could be good if you’re looking for a quiet and private place but it’s still far from being a venue of relaxation.
Honestly, for us, it was a wrong move to stay in Hydro Hotel. We initially thought that it’d be walking distance from everything else but it turned out that it’d take around 5-10 minutes’ drive from there to get to the hustle and bustle of life in the beach.
So with a few clicks and search in the internet, we moved to a much cozier place – The Lazy Boys Travelodge, which is located just across the Batu Ferringhi Beach. It is a few minutes walk away from the beach, grocery shops, restaurant, food courts and the night market and has a very ‘homie’ atmosphere.
It’s only a hostel so don’t expect a hotel-like feel with spacious rooms, wide-screen TV and bath tub but it’s highly recommended for budget travelers. An air-conditioned room with private bathroom is only 1/3 of the price we paid in hotel! There are other cheaper options, too… and you get to meet and mingle with other foreigners and guests staying there.
It’s a good choice for us since what we’re only after is where we can take a shower and a safe place to leave our stuff while we tour around the place. So if you’re only staying for a short period of time and you don’t mind a little inconvenience, hostel-type accommodations would already be worth your money.
And here’s what Batu Ferringhi Beach looks like… a long stretch of sand, beautiful view, hotels and bars aligned near the beach, jetskis and water parachutes, people swimming, kids enjoying the waves and the shore and music playing around. Now we know where to go straight when we return.