The Doctor’s House in Madiha is a funky and fun hostel, bar, and restaurant on the shores of south Sri Lanka. The rooms retain the original aesthetics of the crumbling colonial architecture, creating a fascinating look into the past, while maintaining a comfortable space to kick it for a few days (or a week).
The dorm rooms are located in the quiet back of the property. They have some cool antique furniture with new comfortable beds. Our favorite part was the showers, which are open air with gardens inside and utilize spaghetti strainers to create waterfall style shower heads.
The bar features a variety of tasty cocktails and smoothies, and the restaurant utilizes a clay wood burning oven. They push out the best pizzas on the south coast and other western-style dishes, but with a Sri Lankan flair.
The Doctor’s House also contains a newly-opened surf shop, The Box, selling boards, surf gear, and zinc sunscreen. You can find them on Instagram at @_thebox_
The best day to check out The Doctor’s House is for their bi-weekly Saturday market. Many vendors set up in the courtyard and the beers flow along with the music from several live artists.
The Doctor’s House in Madiha, south Sri Lanka, was one of the straight up coolest places we have ever crashed. Everything is so artfully created, so perfectly unperfect. Actually, its really hard to explain how cool it is, so just go there!
Stay Samed Coffee & Bed in Ko Samet, Thailandis a beautiful new boutique hostel on the island, located down a quiet side street less than 10 minutes walk from Sai Kaew Beach and Na Don Pier. Stay Samed let’s you relax in peace while being moments away from the party strip and the amazing ocean! All rooms in Stay Samed come with air conditioning, and the beds are some of the most comfortable we have ever come across in any hostel dorms. The private rooms are very spacious and come with LCD televisions and their own private bathrooms.
The dorm rooms have a maximum of 8 beds. Each bed has its own privacy curtain, electrical outlet, and reading light. Each dorm also has it’s own bathroom and shower. The showers have soap and shampoo dispensers and the front desk gives you a towel at check-in.
The street front Stay Samed Cafe features western favorites such as chicken and waffles and the Stay Bowl- an invigorating breakfast bowl of yogurt, granola, fruit and superfoods! There are also a large selection of coffees, sodas, and beers to quench everyone’s thirst. They serve breakfast all day so don’t worry about sleeping in! The staff is super friendly and they probably speak better English than you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or have them help you with booking tours! Here’s our video tour and some fun moments on the beach!
Tour and Boat Booking
Cafe and Bar
English Speaking Staff
8 Bed Mixed Dorm: from ฿500
6 Bed Mixed Dorm: from ฿525
Private Room: From ฿1200
Rates vary seasonally.
Phone: 095 523 2515
Address: Sai Kaew Beach
Ban Koh Samet, Rayong, Thailand 21160
Hostels are great places that laid back traveling people can enjoy. They are some of the best places to meet new friends and share your favorite backpacking stories. However, we’ve all met some types of people who just shouldn’t stay in hostels. While there are more, these are our top seven types of terrible hostel guests.
Yimwhan Hostel & Cafe in Ayutthaya, Thailand is a new and chic hostel in the old capital city. Located in a quiet neighborhood just outside the old city, Yimwhan offers everything a traveler needs to feel comfortable in a new place. Their cafe and common room are great places to enjoy a coffee, or you can rent bicycles from their friendly staff and quickly find yourself among the ancient temples. If biking is not your thing then they will call you a tuk tuk and have you at the temples in minutes.
Their private rooms feature large comfy beds on trendy pallet supports. We loved the antique style light bulbs and old 80s televisions used as tables. Each room also has a safe for your valuables.
Yimwhan Hostel & Cafe also has mixed dorm and female dorm rooms. The dorms are simple, clean, and well lit, a great value for the price.
The highlight of Yimwhan Hostel & Cafe for us was the free breakfast. Going way above and beyond the normal free hostel breakfast, Yimwhan served eggs, sausage, toast, cereals, milk, juice, and coffee.
Yimwhan’s common room is a great place to relax after a long day of biking around the temples of Ayutthaya. They have comfy beanbag chairs and movies to watch to wind down. Check out our video below for a virtual tour around the hostel!
While spending years traveling the world, we’ve stayed in a LOT of great hostels. Sometimes we check out the trendy new ones, sometimes we try to save money and go bottom budget. Besides the obvious necessities like cleanliness and safety, here are some things that make for great hostels:
Hostel activities are the best way to make friends while traveling. It is also usually the cheapest way to do the things that you want to do anyways. These actives could be free yoga, beach bonfires, beer pong tournaments, surf lessons, language exchanges, exploring the market, or hiking adventures. Some hostels go as far as to focus their whole marketing strategy around their actives, like Volcano Boarding at Bigfoot Hostel in Leon, Nicaragua
2) Free Breakfast
Not paying for that first meal is important to long term travel. Some breakfasts are better than others but it’s nice to at least get some coffee, bread, and fruit. The best breakfasts ever were at the Casas Particulares in Cuba where we one time were served 8 different types of fruit, in addition to bread, eggs, and cheese.
3) A Bar and Restaurant
Sometimes you just want to stay in and hang out with travelers. Hostel bars are the best place to do that. They provide an international vibe that some towns lack. Sometimes the bar is the attraction itself, like Loki Hostels in South America or the Tipsy Tiger in Penang, Malaysia.
4) Chilling Areas
Comfortable places to meet new friends, use your laptop to advance your digital nomad dreams, and share stories of your adventures are a must. These areas range from bean bag chairs, to hammocks, to comfy couches or soft green grass. For places with dorms this is the area that most people will spend their time. The swimming pool at Equity Point in Marrakech wins our vote for best chillin’ area.
5) Fast WiFi
Some countries just have terrible internet all over. But sometimes the hostel gets cheap and goes for the internet package that wouldn’t load AIM in the 90’s. You. must. have. fast. Wifi. It’s so nice to be able to upload photos to Facebook or Skype your family back home in Ulakalakalakastan or wherever you’re from. Yim Yam Hostel & Garden in Bangkok wins for fastest hostel WiFi ever.
6) Knowledgeable and Friendly Staff
You want tours, you want advice, you want someone who will laugh with you at your stupid mistake of waking up early to spend all of your money on taxis to the airport one day too early (oops). The staff should make you feel at home and help you have the best time possible. By far the best staff we’ve met were at USA Hostels Ocean Beach, San Diego, California.
We know we said 5, but wasn’t 6 better?
Other things that make your stay better:
– Privacy curtains on dorm beds.
– Water refill station.
– No bed bugs. Sometimes if places look grimy it’s better to just pay the extra $1 for no bed bugs. Check out our post on how to remove bed bugs from your stuff.
– Free maps.
– Free earplugs (for the party hostels).
– Instagramable decor – you know you want to brag to your friends back home.
Sometimes in the end everything is not perfect, but sometimes those imperfections are what makes great hostels an experience. I mean, you could have stayed in a hotel and gotten a good nights sleep. But after you go out with your new hostel best friends and dance on the bar until 6am, you never think “man, I wish I would have gotten a hotel and some sleep!” Well sometimes you do, but that doesn’t make a very good story now, does it?
If you’re interested in finding some good places to stay, check out our HOSTEL REVIEWS page and get out there on your own aventura! What important in great hostels to you? We’d love your feedback!
Equity Point Hostel is located in the heart of the medina in Marrakech, Morocco. The entrance is slightly hidden down a small alley, but once you are inside the hostel opens up into a huge complex. There are different rooms for every traveler’s needs and budgets, along with a bunch of different common rooms to hang out and escape the madness of the Medina.
The best part about this hostel is the central swimming pool. The cleanest pool we saw in Morocco, it offered a great escape from the intense heat of the city. Besides the pool, dorms and rooms are also equipped with air conditioning which really makes sleeping easier.
The top floor of Equity Point Hostel has the restaurant and bar, with a very cool view over the medina. A great spot to sip on a drink, they also offer the cheapest beer that we were able to find in the city. We really liked this hostel, from the cleanliness to the amenities. Swimming pools aren’t unheard of in the city, but the price to swim is usually more than the total cost of Equity-Point.
Free simple Moroccan breakfast
24 Hour reception
Air-conditioning in rooms
80, Derb El Hammam Mouassine Marrakech Medina
Tel: (00212) 524440793
The journey from New York to London wasn’t super long, but wasn’t super comfortable either. Neither of us slept and Zach celebrated our arrival by beginning to throw up repeatedly about an hour before landing. After we landed, we conveniently found out that our second (because our original had already canceled) Couchsurfing host had to cancel on us! Great. So off to a hostel we went, navigating several confusing forms of public transit, Zach dragging all the way. Thankfully he perked up once we arrived at Restup Hostel UK but we couldn’t check in until 3pm so we stowed our stuff and started walking. Fortuitous, because as soon as we found some WiFi we had another host offer from someone we met through this very blog! Hooray! Now we just had to kill the next 10 hours before we could show up at Tom’s house.
Luckily Zach made a miraculous recovery and we were able to enjoy a great walking day along the Thames River, taking in the skyline, a glimpse of the London Eye, the Old Globe…
(very exciting for me, as a former theater nerd)
the London Bridge,
(very unimpressive considering we’ve seen the original London Bridge where it now stands in Lake Havasu City, AZ. It’s true.)
a classic British pub with warm and flat cask ale,
the amazing Borough Market which we just stumbled upon,
and the Tower Bridge with a view of the Tower of London.
After all this rambling, we got to meet up with our wonderful hosts in Earlsfield, southwest London, for some awesome hard ciders and conversation at their local pub. They are moving to Colombia soon and that’s why they had been reading our old blog entries. Although not official Couchsurfers, they definitely had the spirit, and hopefully we were good enough guests to convert them!