Tag Archives: Backpacker

Two Shared Bunk Compared: Ubud Market Hostel and Hostel Ubud

In the last couple of trips for business, I choose to stay at room with shared bunk. In this kind of room, I basically rent a bed instead of whole room, and got to share the room with some other people. Because of this, the price per night is very cheap. Both hostel compared here cost around 100.000 rupiah (Less than US$ 10 with today’s rate).

Both are basically pretty good, clean, and could be alternative in case the other is full. Read on to see more detail on how Ubud Market Hostel and Hostel Ubud compared to each other, or scroll to the bottom for short summary.


Both Ubud Market Hostel and Hostel Ubud are located close to each other. Both are also right at the heard of Ubud, some 5 minutes walking from Ubud Palace and Ubud Market

Hostel Ubud is easier to find, as it is located on Jalan Dewi Sita, right across the soccer field. The Bamboo Restaurant which is located at the ground floor also help to find the place.

Hostel Ubud Signage
Bamboo Restaurant at Jalan Dewi Sita. Hostel Ubud is located at the 2nd floor

In comparison, Ubud Market Hostel is located slightly into the small road in front of Tut Mak. They also have small marker situated high above the road that make it even more challenging to spot.

Ubud Market Hostel Signage
Ubud Market Hostel, with the signage on the top right corner

Hostel Reception

Reception Area
Cozy reception area of Hostel Ubud

I arrived at Ubud Market Hostel around 11pm at night. Tired after a long day, it took me a while to find the reception, as the desk is not manned.

In contrast, I arrived at Hostel Ubud at 1am due to flight delays. The reception is well manned, and they set me up pretty quick.  Hostel Ubud did better than Ubud Market Hostel.

Hostel Ubud also has a more comfortable reception area, as shown in the picture.


Hostel Ubud has only 1 bedroom for 20 people. The room is not equipped with Air Conditioner. If you are prone to feel hot at night, pick the top bed to be closer to ceiling fan

Two Hostel Compared
The bunk compared. To the left is Hostel Ubud, and to the right is Ubud Market Hostel

Ubud Market Hostel perform better in this aspect. Its room cater for 6 people, with full wall between beds to ensure privacy. The room is also equipped with Air Conditioner, cloth hanger, and extra space to put your stuff and charge your electronics.

Both hostel have lockable storage available free of charge.  Both require Rp. 50.000 deposit, which will be refunded when you returned the locker’s key

Bathroom and Toilet

Both hostel provide separate area for shower, toilet and wash room. The showers in both hostel are also equipped with hot water. In term of cleanliness, both hostel showers and toilets are clean enough.

Hostel Ubud provide 2 shower areas, 3 toilets and 2 wash sink to be shared with 20 people. Ubud Market Hostel provide 1 shower, 1 toilets and 1 wash sink to be shared with 6 people. Despite the difference in the ratio, I didn’t ever need to queue while staying at both places.


With the location within few meters, and price range around Rp. 100.000, both Hostel Ubud and Ubud Market Hostel are good value for money. However, I’m like Hostel Ubud a little bit more than Ubud Market Hostel for the following reasons:

  • Hostel Ubud is easier to find at night. Due to location on the main road, it also has more parking space for motorcycle
  • Hostel Ubud reception staff was ready at 1am to receive me
  • Bamboo restaurant at the 1st floor is handy for breakfast
  • Better view from 2nd floor to the football field

Have you stayed in any or both of the hostel? Share your experience in the comment section below.

The Traveler Message Board

Traveler Message Board

There are something romantic looking at the message board, filled with letter, message or photo from traveler passing by. The photo above is from Betel Box Hostel, Singapore.

In the old days, during the early days of backpacking, this is the only way to communicate with fellow backpackers on the road. People would leave a message for their friends who was few days behind, note of interesting place to see, or danger to be avoided.

These kind of message boards have been mostly replaced by email and mobile phone. However, there are seems to be place who provide such message board like Betel Box, just for the romance, and for the sake of old days.

This photo is posted in response to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall. Share an image of a wall that reveals something about a place, people, or you. Also, read the full review of the place where this photo was taken, Betel Box Hostel

Backpackers and Courtesy

Another article has been posted on why backpackers get a bad name, and being disliked. It seems that the focus of being able to travel with lowest possible cost has took out the important element of being human: courtesy. And this is not courtesy to strangers, but to someone who has hosted you in their house so that you can save some hotel expense and prolong your backpacking trip.

Back in 2006, I was on a half backpacking trip to Flores. We are being hosted in a Monastery next to a Church. For 4 days, the Head Priest took us around the city with Monastery’s car, and even invite us for dinner together with all the Priests. It was such a good experience. All of us love it, and even until today, I still get invitation to come and stay at the Church. While on the last day we did give some donation, it is how we interact with them that leave the impression.

Unless you are staying at some religious building, your host will mostly reject monetary gift. In this case, the easiest way to give back is to show some courtesy. Back to my Flores trip, in addition to donation, here is some courtesy that we showed to our host:

  1. Help out in the kitchen. We helped to clean some vegetables, cut few carrots, roll some dough, and many more. This courtesy don’t even cost a penny, but really give a huge impact and chances to get your host better.
  2. Share the cost, such as gas, toll, and parking if you go with your host, in their car. It can be 50-50, or some other combination.
  3. Buy your host a cup of coffee. It doesn’t have to be Starbucks, or it doesn’t even have to be coffee anyway. Tea, snacks or anything else will do.
  4. Share your snacks. Chances are, during your stay, you will buy some chocolates, or chips, or candies. Offer some to your host.
  5. Buy them dinner. I make it a habit that, on my last day of staying at someone’s house, I will make an effort to buy them dinner. This goes a long way and leave a mark to your host. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A take away at nearby Chinese Restaurant will do.

Seriously, there are no awards for those who spend the least money when backpacking. Noone will remember you as someone who can travel with so little money. Not in a good way, at least. So, why not showing some courtesy, and make yourself remembered, in a good way?

Betel Box Hostel at Joo Chiat Road, Singapore

I fall in love with this place. We only stayed for merely 2 nights at Betel Box Hostel, Joo Chiat Road, Singapore. But it was love at first sight.

Checking In

“My name is Tony”, the guy behind the reception desk introduce himself. “Let me walk you around and tell you some rules.” Later we know from the news clip on the wall that, he is the proud founder and owner of Betel Box Hostel.

Tony has no problem finding our reservations, which we made through the website http://www.betelbox.com. Payment is made in advance. We are handed over our bed linen and walked to the room


We rented 2 beds in the 20 beds room. Aside from 20 beds, Betel Box also has 16 beds dorm, 8 beds female-only dorm and a 1 private bedroom for 2. All room is equipped with air con, and shared bathroom. Rates information is at their website: http://www.betelbox.com/hostel_rates.htm

Our 20 beds room has 10 double decker beds, 2 hot showers and 1 toilet to be shared among us. There is also a locker room for our luggage (Dimension: 1 feet width x 2 feet depth x 3 feet high). Either brings your own padlock or you can borrow one from the reception.

The room is not pristine clean, but decent enough. You will see a lot of large bag lying around near each bunk, and towels hanging everywhere. Remember to pack your own towel & toiletries.

The Communal Room

Next Tony took us back to the Communal Room, which also host the reception. I must say that, this room is the heart of Betel Box Hostel. It is where traveler meets & share stories over breakfast or can of beer at night.

Here, travelers also look for information through the extensive collection of history and guide books left by former guest. Or if you have your own laptop, wi-fi access is available free of charge.

Around The Hotel

The Joo Chiat road is lined with food and bar. The road to the south is lined with small artisan café, uniquely designed with colors, and serving handcrafted dishes and dessert. Another different food that you will find is hawker center and kopitiam. It would be nice to sit at one of these artisan café or kopitiam if we have more time to spare.

Nearest bus and MRT station is 15 minutes walk away on nice pedestrian walkway. It can be very hot during the day, bring an umbrella and put a lot of sun block.

For other place, ask the staff. They are very knowledgeable not only for places around the hotel, but also places further down the road, and will also help you for transportation.

The Betel Box Backpacker Hostel
200 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427471
Telephone: (65) 6247 7340
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.betelbox.com