Hotels and accommodations
Where can I book the cheapest rooms? Do I have to book in advance at all? Questions and answers on accommodation in Southeast Asia.
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It was January 2006. I was on the plane to Thailand for the first time and had not pre-booked a single hotel. To be honest, I was a little nervous about it. But that was unfounded. Throughout the whole trip I found nice accommodations to suit my budget.
In the years that followed I mostly did the same. Just traveled there and looked for a good room on site. It still works today.
However: travel behavior has changed a lot in recent years. More and more people are booking their accommodations in advance. Accordingly, a number of popular guest houses and hotels are already fully booked when you arrive.
How to find the best hotels accommodations
- If you are not traveling alone: First find a nice café at the destination. One then takes care of the luggage, the other person goes out and looks at the accommodations. Believe me, sweating with a backpack on your shoulders and a travel guide in hand, you are a popular victim of tugs who want to show you a "very cheap bungalow". Find one yourself and it is guaranteed to be cheaper.
- If you stay longer than two or three nights, it is worth negotiating. You often get a discount. However, this does not work in high season when everything is fully booked.
- Usually there aren't as many rooms available in the evening. The selection is reduced accordingly. It can be worthwhile to only book for one night and move again the next day. It is often the case on islands that the boats always arrive and depart at the same times. When everyone is checking out, you have the best chance of your favorite room.
The following aspects are relevant when evaluating the price / performance ratio:
- Is the room clean?
- How large is the room?
- How many beds?
- Fan or air conditioning?
- Warm or cold water?
- Own bathroom or shared bathroom?
- Lake view / view?
- Swimming pool?
Although it is almost always possible to find something on site, pre-booking can be a sensible option, for example:
- If you only arrive after dark or have traveled a long way. Then you may be glad that you no longer have to search.
- in some places in high season
- around holidays, especially during the European winter holidays.
- If you got a great tip from friends or other travelers.
- In Myanmar, where the number of accommodations is usually scarce.
- Traveling with children
However, you should note the following disadvantages:
- If the room is not nice, it will be difficult to get out of there easily. If you haven't pre-booked, you can just go ahead.
- There are still nice accommodations that are not on the booking platforms. You can only find these on site.
- Booking in advance makes you inflexible - for example, if you want to stay in one place longer, but already have a reservation for another city for the next few days.
- The very basic accommodations in the lowest price category are often not on booking portals.
The best booking portals for Southeast Asia
I have also booked in advance more frequently in the past two years. I tested countless booking platforms. Based on the results and conversations with other travelers, I actually only use these:
1.) Agoda : In my opinion, this is the best site for Southeast Asia. There are more hotels here than at other providers, the prices are usually the cheapest and you also collect points with every booking that you can later convert into credits. Here is my Agoda review .
2.) Booking : If I don't book with Agoda, then mostly here. The cancellation options are particularly good until shortly before arrival. In addition, the price is displayed correctly and not just before the last step. Here is my booking.com review .
3.) airbnb : You can also book rooms in private accommodation in Southeast Asia via the worldwide platform. If you register via this link , you will receive up to 34 euros starting credit, which you can use with your first booking (no matter where in the world).
By the way, you need a credit card to book. For this I recommend the Santander Bank Visa card . This is not only free of charge, you can also use it to withdraw money worldwide free of charge, receive foreign fees and can make payments in foreign currencies at no additional cost. There is currently no comparable offer! Here is more information about credit cards in Southeast Asia .