A recent development in Singapore – if you will allow ‘recent’ to stretch back three years – has been a range of inexpensive, tidy, and cozy accommodations for the budget traveler. In 2004, they were popping up at the rate of one a month, according to a Straits Times report. Now there are as many as 30, with a primary concentration being in Little India.
Dorm beds can be had for under S$20 a night, with specials at some places for extended stays. Singles and doubles generally run less than S$50 a night. Common baths are the norm.
Prince of Wales Backpacker Hostel – Dorm beds start at S$18 a night, dropping as low as S$13 a night for a three-night stay. One ‘double’, which may just be a room with a single bunk bed, goes for about S$42 a night. Breakfast comes with a room or a bed, and the place has the advantage (or disadvantage) of having a lively pub down stairs, with an active band schedule – and, no, not Filipino cover bands. Even if you can’t hook a bed, it looks an interesting place to step into on a night out in Little India. Located on Dunlop Street. Web site: www.pow.com.sg
The InnCrowd Backpackers’ Hostel Singapore – This is also on Dunlop Street in Little India, and also has its own pub. Dorm beds go at S$18 a night, and double rooms at S$48. Both InnCrowd and Prince of Wales were fully booked when I stopped by, so don’t expect to walk in off the street. Staff at both places was friendly, helpful, and happy to answer questions – good places to consider for a night or two on a quick visa run. Web site:www.the-inncrowd.com
Backpacker Cozy Corner Guesthouse – This is a more centrally located place, with dorm beds going for S$8-S$15, and the top price for single and double rooms at S$45. It’s in a great location, with lots of inexpensive eating spots right downstairs and only a short walk to the Bugis MRT Station. Also, down the side streets off North Bridge Road are many small night spots for an evening of drink, TV sports, and pool. Web site:www.cozycornerguest.com
Ah Chew Hotel – This is just around the corner from Cozy Corner, and, um, has a little more character. An old sign advertising Ah Chew Hotel has been covered with a banner saying simply, “Room for Rent”. A brochure given to me by hotel staff says the same thing, and clarifies its location as being ‘On top of Tong Seng Coffeeshop’ – the kitchen of which you walk through on your way up. Nonetheless, it was full, and it has the added convenience of an Internet café being located on the second or third floor (rooms are on the fourth). Not a flashy place, but worth a try; rates at S$26-$55 a night for single and doubles. No Web site. Tel: 65 6837 0356.
Bugis Backpackers’ Hostel – This is in the same area as Ah Chew and Cozy Corner. If security is your primary concern, go for this place. I couldn’t even get in the door without a reservation, and the staff who answered the bell was wary of me standing out on the third-floor landing just asking questions. Still, three guests on their way in and out gave thumbs up on it. Dorm beds start at S$22 a night, and private rooms at S$50. Web site: www.bugisbackpackers.com
Try booking any of the above except Ah Chew at www.hostelworld.com to see if you can get a better rate than is available on the official Web sites. Do book in advance. None of the places had a walk-in room or bed available. Some of the hostels do not allow guests under 18.
Note: Avoid Booh Wah Hotel and Kerbau Hotel. They might come up on the hotel/hostel booking sites. Neither place looked inviting or had any faded charm to offset a seedy atmosphere.
Copyright © 2007 Tropical Tramp