I love hostels. I never expected that I would ever find fancy hotels boring, but that’s how I feel now.
The first time I tried a hostel stay was when I was in Bangkok, solo backpacking abroad for the first time. I just arrived from Cambodia where I stayed in a VIP suite and as the hotel cancelled my reservation (they informed me while I was on the way already to Bangkok), I had to find an accommodation immediately.
The almost 10-hour bus ride drained me so much that when the Polish girl I met in the bus told me about the nice hostel she was staying in Bangkok, I just decided to go with her. I found it okay, but I thought I would eventually go back to staying in hotels. Later on, however, I realized that I enjoyed staying in hostels so much that I now make it a point to stay in a hostel whenever I’m traveling.
Aside from being economical, one of the best things about a hostel stay is how easy it will be for you to meet people. In the last 4 years, I’ve met some really good friends in hostels. Although I rarely see them now, the bond I had with them are stronger than ever and they all remind me of all the fun we’d had.
Of course, staying in hostels is not fun all the time! While there are days when you meet great people, there are other days when you seem to be a magnet for those crazy ones.
So here they are — the seven people you will meet in a hostel, plus a bonus!
1. The half-awake roomie
She just arrived in Zagreb that day from almost a day of journey from South Korea. It was both our first night in Croatia and we shared a 3-bed dorm along with a British guy named Tom.
Tom went out in the evening with a couple of fellow backpackers. I was tired from an almost 10-hour bus ride from Germany and she was also tired from the flight, so we both decided to just rest instead of joining the pub crawl. At around 11pm, I finally fell asleep — only to be awakened by a loud scream coming from the bed next to mine at past 1am.
Chaos ensued. The owner and the staff of the hostel rushed to our room — as well as the other guests — asking what happened. Tom, the Korean lady, and I just looked at each other in confusion.
It turned out that my Korean roomie woke up when Tom arrived. He tried to be quiet, opening the door carefully so we wouldn’t be disturbed. Unfortunately, she, half-awake and jetlagged, thought she was still at home in Seoul, sleeping in her own bed. When she saw Tom sneaking in, she thought he was a burglar, and screamed as loud as she could.
In fairness to Tom, he tried to keep his cool but I saw that he was shaken as well. Not sure who was more embarrassed — the girl who made a mistake or the guy whom she thought was a burglar. Tom went out the next evening again but didn’t return to our dorm anymore until the morning. Playing safe I guess.
2. The pervert who wants a playmate
I met him one morning in our dorm room in Manila after my shift from work the night before. He said he had just arrived from the States. We chatted for 5 minutes, asking the usual travel-related questions. Then off I went to bed.
A few hours later, when I woke up, I went directly to the bathroom. I was already inside the shower stall when I heard a man speak just outside the door. “Would you like to join me for a quick shower?” he asked. Thinking the guy had company and there was a couple playing around in the shower room, I just ignored it.
After my shower, I hurriedly went back to the room to change. Then someone followed me in the room. The guy I met in the morning appeared to have just taken a shower as well. And then he asked, “Would you like to join me in the shower?”
Upon realizing he was the guy in the shower, all I could say was “Excuse me?”
“You know just the two of us taking a shower. I promise it will be fun,” he said, trying to corner me. Annoyed, I told him to fuck off. And the nerve of the guy, he even asked, “Are you sure?” and then tried to touch me.
That was when I exploded and said my most menacing line: “Back off or after this I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Okay, that’s probably a cliche but hey, it worked!
3. The guy who does not leave the hostel
This person baffles me until now. He was from China. He bought a business class ticket to go to Manila but did not go anywhere. Like for real.
I just arrived from Singapore and found him on his bed, reading a dictionary. Turned out he was trying to find out how to ask where he could eat. And my heart went out to him. I spent the next 2 hours teaching him basic English through sign language, drawings, and simple words.
He didn’t even know how to count in English so it was really hard to teach him about money. He didn’t leave the hostel on the three days he had been in the country! He had only been in the Japanese restaurant below the building. Ugh, it was such a waste of a business class ticket!
4. The horny travelers who ask for your permission
Travelers having sex in a hostel is a common occurrence. Even if they are sharing a dorm with other people, they still do it. What’s worse is when your roomie asks for your permission. It didn’t happen to me, though, which was a good thing because otherwise, I would have definitely said no.
One evening while I was working in the hostel common room, a shy Chinese girl sat beside me. I met her an hour earlier and she told me she was going to sleep. I asked her why she was still awake and she then told me her dormmates from Brunei and South Korea woke her up and apologized because they needed to have sex.
The guy told her, “It would be very quick.” What’s funnier is that one of the staff members tried to stop them (because they strictly prohibit having sex in a dorm and c’mon it’s dorm!) and they didn’t care. So the staff stood by the door while they finished the deed.
When they were done, the guy went to the common room and told the Chinese girl that she could go back to the room. He also apologized to the hostel staff for breaking the rules. Well, he couldn’t control his libido but at least he was polite! 😉
5. The party animal who keeps howling at night
Most of us have experienced this in one way or another. Your roomies get so drunk they decide to scream at the top of their lungs without care.
When people complained, the drunk asshole just said “You want silence? Go to a fucking hotel!” It would take a decade’s worth of your patience to stop yourself from strangling this kind of person. Oh yeah, I almost did.
6. The roomies who think the dorm is a landfill
I’m not the most organized person on earth, I know that. But when I stayed in this dorm along with these European students, I thought I was in a landfill!
They literally covered the entire floor with their dirty clothes. I couldn’t walk without stepping on someone’s shirts, bags, or shoes and the dorm is quite big for six people! They also used my space, put their bags under my bed, towels on my assigned rack and worst, they thought the lockers were closets where they just dumped their dirty clothes again with some hanging by the locker door.
The only thing they left me with was my bed and the door. They couldn’t even give me my right of way.
7. The young couple who camps out in the shower room
You’re working the evening away in one of highest rated hostels in Ho Chi Minh City. Then nature calls. You silently enter your room to get to the toilet since the only shared toilet on the first floor is already closed.
You open the unlocked door and your eyes are damaged forever by the young Caucasian couple (both look in their late teens) who are…umm.. busy with each other. You wait for 30 minutes but no one goes out. Another 30 minutes has passed and the shower just gets louder and louder.
Your friends are already awake to prepare for your next flight together early morning. And the two campers are not finished yet. You and your friends decide not to take a shower anymore since you’d all be late for your flight. In your case, you don’t care anymore as long as you get to the toilet fast.
BONUS: The guy who declares his undying love hours after meeting you
When you travel a lot and stay in hostels often, you have probably been in this situation yourself. You meet someone you really like in a hostel or you meet someone who really likes you.
In my case, it was the latter. I struck up a conversation with this European guy in the dining area and we started talking about music and Ireland (my dream destination). That was at 11pm. At midnight, he was telling me his life story. An hour later, he said that we thought alike and were therefore compatible.
Finally, at 2am, just three hours after meeting me, he was already declaring his undying love for me. He went out and bought me food; it was rice and pork adobo — wherever did he get that at 3am?
He left the hostel again and at 4am, he came back with a few leaves. Yes, leaves from a tree. He gave the leaves to me as some sort of an offering. Other women get flowers, I got leaves!
I thought it had some romantic connotation/meaning in his culture, but apparently not. He told me the next morning that he just took pity on the leaves because they were starting to get brown so he gave them to me. Yep, true story, and nope, I didn’t date the guy!
So yes, a hostel stay can be really interesting. You meet so many types of people. It does make for an interesting tale, doesn’t it?
What about you? Do you have any crazy story about people you met in hostels? Do let me know in the comments below!
About the Author
Christine Rogador, the blogger behind The Travelling Pinoys, is a full-time traveler and full-time career woman from the Philippines. She’s also a photography enthusiast. Chocolate and ice cream addict. Artist wanna-be. Selective foodie. Bookworm. Culture vulture. Polyglot. And with a serious case of wrong sense of direction. Follow her adventures on Facebook and Instagram!