Most of the time I haven't book accomodation in advance while traveling in Southeast Asia. Usually I just walked with my backpack and asked the hostels/homestays for prices, checked the rooms and chose best/cheapest option.
I made a reservation only a few times - usually when the 'homestay' that interested me (you live in the home of a local family) was situated far from the city. I didn't want to find out that after getting there, there was no bed for me.
Here is the subjective ranking of the 3 most interesting places in which I stayed during my 5-month trip in 2018 to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore:
For only 8 euros per night you will get a queen-size bed room with private bathroom and access to a small pool (in the neighboring building) with a view of the rice field. Swimming at night under the stars is one of my best memories of Bali.
A night on a bunk bed in a co-ed room with breakfast is 5 euros. The price also includes a fee for access to bicycles. This is not the cheapest option in that area. However, I will gladly go back there again. The food was delicious (for breakfast you could order for example local vegan soup with noodles and fruit cocktail - included in the price!), The family of the owner is kind. I felt like Julia Roberts in the movie "Eat, pray, love" - calm and happy - while riding a bicycle in that area.
For 4 euros you will get a very authentic experience. You will sleep on a thin mattress on the floor under the mosquito net. Just a textil curtain will separat you from other travelers. The bedroom is located on the floor of a traditional house on stilts. This homestay is situated in the tiny picturesque village of the Thai minority in Vietnam. A simple breakfast is included in the price.
You don't want to pay for accommodation? Do you love meeting new people? So try couchsurfing. It is an alternative way to save money and, above all, you could enjoy the company of another person.
I also recommend helpx and workaway - these are two websites where you can find interesting volunteering opportunities. Usually, for about 20-25 hours of work a week, you'll get a place to sleep and some food. If you have time and want to delve into the local culture, this is the best solution. Thanks to one month volunteering in Our Land and 10 days at the Bamboo School orphanage, I got to know the wild nature of Thailand and the realities of life of children from the Karen tribe. In addition, I had the pleasure to sleep in 2 bamboo huts.
Helpx and workaway can also help you if you dream of moving abroad. If you're interested in this topic, read the post 8 ways to move abroad cheaply.
Do you also volunteer while traveling? What are your experiences? Share them in the comments below 😉
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