Sleeping in Vietnam
It feels like forever since I’ve returned back from Vietnam. And almost two months after returning I wanted to write about the hotels I stayed in during my trip from Hanoi to Hoi an.
Staying in hostels and hotels throughout Vietnam was already one heck of an experience, I’d say. I’ve stayed in all of them: from comfortable three star-hotels to the most fun hostels, to one of the most insane, remote, prehistorical hotels – which I, to be honest, liked even better than the good hotels. How fun is it to stay in the middle of nowhere with nothing but your friends to keep you busy?
Oh by the way.. does a night bus count as a hotel too? ‘Cause I’ve experienced them too!
So today, I am writing about the hotels I’ve stayed at in Vietnam, for your next Vietnam itinerary of course!
Literally the best hostel I’ve ever stayed at! Everything about the Dowtown hostel is great: from the location, to the food they serve, to the party’s at night, to the hygiene in the rooms and the comfort and safety of the dorm rooms (you can literally store three backpacks in your locker).
But by far the best thing about the Downtown hostel? The fun! Whenever I just wanted to chill I sat down in the lobby of the Downtown hostel and chatted for hours with other backpackers that were looking for some downtime themselves!
Ok, one more best thing about the backpackers hostel: the tours they organise. As soon as you enter this hostel you’ll find a desk where you can book all sorts of tours. One thing is sure: it is always busy at this desk and there is always someone booking a tour – that definitely says something about the quality and the fun of the tours, right?
At Downtown you can for example book a tour to Sapa, to the Halong Bay (the famous Castaway Island) or to Hoi An! I booked the tour to the Halong Bay and to Hoi An (where you make these stops) and had the best time of my life.
Castaway Island – Halong Bay
Throw away all of your assumptions of Halong Bay when thinking about Castaways, because this island is a whole other side of Halong Bay and you better prepare for it. Castaway Island is fun. Basically, they put you and up to 80 other backpackers together on one private island with a lot of beer and cocktails. I guess you can figure out how that looks. Sometimes not so pretty, I gotta be honest.
Hostel wise: you sleep in bunk beds in the huts that are on the island. I visited Castaways in December – a pretty cold period to be at Halong Bay. Or at least – there was a lot of wind and the nights were cold. The huts on Castaways are not even the slightest isolated and the rooms of the doors do not close. I guess you can say that I was happy to wear a sweater. Castaways definitely is made for summer-weather. However, other than that: the beds are comfortable and the bathrooms are pretty good.
Three times a day you’ll hear a dong, which means food is served. Oh god, I loved the food! There were salads, noodles, rice, meats and fries. I couldn’t complain – even as a vegetarian. Throughout the rest of the day you can order your drinks or snacks at the bar on the island.
Castaways is more than just a hostel – it is a tour to a private island in Halong Bay. I am definitely happy that I choose this tour over a regular one. This group of backpackers will be a group you’ll see again and again throughout your journey through Vietnam ‘cause they will most likely have the same itinerary. That means that Castaways definitely is the start of an epic journey through Vietnam!
This hotel was insane. Not because it was insanely luxurious or insanely beautiful, but because it was exactly the opposite. In the middle of national park Cuc Phuong you’ll find the Guest House. A hotel where you cannot book your stay because there is no phone or internet connection. You basically just have to show up and ask whether they have rooms available or not. Don’t be scared: I’ve been told they basically always have rooms available.
This hotel definitely is as ‘back-to-basics’ as it possible can. This is a hotel where you can only use electricity for about an hour a day (definitely a challenge when you want to shower, charge your phone and camera and brush your teeth and everything). This is a hotel where you have nothing more than one bed on your room, covered with thick blankets and a mosquito net. This is a hotel where a bonfire is the only ‘entertainment’ you’ll have. Oh also: this was a hotel where I had my first encounter with a squat toilet. Yeah.. fun.
The National Park Guest House definitely is a place for peace, for a beautiful surrounding and for a fun stay where you focus on your company. During our stay we’ve enjoyed each others stories at the bonfire, we’ve enjoyed Vietnamese home cooked meals and we’ve enjoyed the nature surrounding us.
I loved it!
In Hue we stayed at the Amigo Hotel rather than another night at the backpackers hostel. As much as I loved the backpackers hostel we figured some more comfort and peace was nice after such a long journey from North to South.
The Amigo Hotel was just one block away from the backpackers hostel and had a quiet surrounding. The beds were great even as the shower were – this was my first hot shower in weeks.. god that felt good! The nights I spent in this hotel were as comfortable as I wanted them to be. I slept like a baby.
In the morning and at nights we went over to the Backpackers Hostel to eat our breakfast and to chat with other backpackers who we basically all met before in Hanoi or at Castaway. Such a fun couple of days!
In Hoi An we went back to one of Vietnams Backpackers Hostels: DK’s House. In Hoi An they don’t allow regular hostels – so while this actually is a hostel it is a completely different hostel as how you know them. This hostel doesn’t have any bunk beds, which means that your shared bedroom is very big and that you don’t have to share it with a lot of people. You also have a bathroom for yourself that surprise, surprise, even has an actual bath!
The atmosphere in this hostel though is the same as in any other. It is fun. There are drinks, barbecues and pizza nights and there are a lot of backpackers who are always in for a chat. The hostel is about a 10 minute walk away from the center of Hoi An and one very short taxi (or bike) ride away from the beach. This hostel definitely is one I recommend!