Sunday, June 2, 2013

Best backpacker hostels in Singapore

Don't blow half your budget in Singapore: These hostels are in the thick of things, fun and cheap as banana chips

Not long ago, backpackers only had a handful of low-budget accommodation options to rest their weary bods in Singapore.

Somewhere along the way, alongside the grandiose five-star properties, popped up a number of cheap-and-cheerful youth hostels. Most of them are centrally located, clean, safe and attract a diverse mix of travelers. 

Here are the five best backpacker hostels in Singapore.

A spacious common area allows for plenty of mingling time.

Beary Good Hostel

Cheesy name aside, A Beary Good Hostel is good value for money if you don't mind the overly generous placement of stuffed bears throughout. The conservation shophouse exterior belies a homely and relaxed interior in primary color tones that is surprisingly more uplifting than annoying. The unbeatable location on Chinatown's Pagoda Street also means a wealth of photo-ops and authentic Chinese food.

Why you should stay: "The location is convenient, Internet is free, there are good beds and linens and a nice free breakfast," says Amar Naik from India who has been staying at the hostel. "All these factors make for a cozy stay but mostly, I like the attentiveness of the staff here."

Price: All rooms are air-conditioned and come with free Wi-Fi. Rooms come in 10- or 12-bed configurations at S$26 per bed/per night. Only daily rates apply.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

66 Pagoda St., +65 6222 4955

For a little more privacy check into the double room at Betel Box Hostel.

Betel Box Hostel

The eight-year-old hostel is, as owner Tony Tan puts it, "a career change that ended up a career." The former IT guy set up Betel Box Hostel after experiencing hostels overseas and seeing a gap in the market in Singapore. Situated in the somewhat seedy -- but still safe -- area of Joo Chiat, for tourists looking to experience a slice of real Singapore, this is the place to stay. Tan also runs tours, in particular a day-long food walk (S$60 inclusive of all food and drinks) that allows participants to sample more than 35 local dishes.

Why you should stay: "I chose Betel Box because the food walk caught my attention," says U.S. tourist Erin Leavell. "I've been on it twice and definitely enjoyed going on it because it's not just about food but also about culture. The atmosphere here is nice and I like the people that come through."
Price: All rooms are air-conditioned and come with free Wi-Fi. Rooms come in a 20-bed mixed dorm (S$20 per bed), 16-bed mixed dorm (S$22 per bed), eight-bed females-only dorm (S$23 per bed) and a family room that fits a double bed or four single beds (S$60 per pair). Only daily rates apply.

Rating: 4 out of 5

200 Joo Chiat Road, +65 6247 7340

Drop your rucksack and take up residence at Drop Inn.

Drop Inn

Former auditor Chong Ruo Yun quit number-crunching to be the lady boss of Drop Inn. While the year-old hostel is a little spartan, its rooms are functional and clean and named after local neighborhoods -- Ang Mo Kio, Bishan and Orchard -- so travelers leave with some sense of Singapore's geography. The Orchard room is the hostel's fanciest, with a little bit more space and a double bed.

Why you should stay: While the industrial suburb of Lavender isn't the best example of Singapore, its uninspiring location is not a deal breaker as a number of Singapore's attractions are no more than five MRT stations away.
Price: All rooms are air-conditioned and come with free Wi-Fi. Rooms are six-bed dorms or 14-bed dorms (S$22 per bed for either configuration), a double superior room (S$55 per room) and double deluxe room (S$65 per room). Only daily rates apply.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

253 Lavender St., +65 6299 3817

Clean, functional and colorful rooms at River City Inn.

River City Inn

Family-run River City Inn is a mere 10-minute walk from the watering holes at Clarke Quay and a 30-minute walk from the Boat Quay/Riverwalk area. While the hostel is small, what it lacks in space, it makes up for with cleanliness and functionality, making it a good base to sightsee or explore Singapore's nightlife.

Why you should stay: They have a ladies-only dorm, a big plus point as not many hostels in Singapore offer this option. 

Price: All rooms are air-conditioned and come with free Wi-Fi. Choose from a mixed dorm ($26 per bed), ladies-only dorm ($29 per bed), a six-bed mixed dorm ($29 per bed) and a private four-bed room ($128 per room). Only daily rates apply. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

33C Hong Kong St., +65 6532 6091

Bed down at the centrally located The Sojourn.

The Sojourn

The Sojourn is probably the best-value and best-located hostel in Singapore. It's a five-minute walk from Somerset MRT Station and the Orchard Road shopping belt. Less than a year old, this small hostel has a nondescript entrance -- look out for a hanging lamp welcoming weary travelers -- the facilities are simple and no-frills but are more than enough to help start and end a day. 

Why you should stay: Its central location makes it easy to explore the city and it's close to the youth-centric *SCAPE area where regular live music concerts and performances are often held so it'll be easy to meet people.

Price: All rooms are air-conditioned and come with free Wi-Fi. Guests can choose between a three-bed family room (S$105), a four-bed dorm or an eight-bed mixed dorm (S$40 per bed). All rooms are air-conditioned with shared showers and restrooms.

Rating: 4 out of 5

131 Devonshire Road, +65 6887 3607

Lastly, let's watch Anastasia Lin at Miss World Canada 2013 Final Talent Performance below.... 

Anastasia performed a song composed by Falun Gong practitioner.


Miss World Canada Contestant Speaks for the Oppressed