During my last trip to Goa I had decided to stay in a backpacker’s hostel instead of a hotel and I have come back with some wonderful experiences, few of which I will be sharing here. But before that, let me confess why I opted for a hostel over a hotel.
The main reason was because I was travelling alone this time and was on a budget, I needed a cheap but descent place to stay. My experience with budget hotels had never been great so a hostel seemed to be the only option for me. This however was not the only reason. I also wanted to meet other like-minded people from various places who unlike most of the Indian travellers, travel for experiencing cultures and places.
After some quick research I booked myself at the Red Door Hostel at Anjuna for a couple of nights.
It was a very conventional hostel-like atmosphere right from the word go and save for one or two guys I noticed that most of the people staying there were more or less my age and were very friendly. There was an open kitchen for anyone who wanted to brew his cup of coffee or cook a quick-lunch. The hall with a big TV running a Hollywood flick seemed to be the place to socialize there. I felt at home in no time.
The six-bed mixed dorm which I was put-up in was clean and spacious. It was my first experience staying in a dorm and I was not sure how comfortable I would be on the privacy part but I felt absolutely fine about being there. The only concerns that I had were sorted as soon as I secured my camera and associated accessories in the locker that was given to me, like everybody else in the hostel.
My other five room-mates were quite an interesting bunch and it was wonderful to hear about their experiences in India. The most interesting of all of them was this British girl whose name I sadly don’t remember. She wanted to experience India from the ‘inside’, the small-town India and had taken-up teaching in Aligarh for three months. Stories of her experiences about things she had taken for granted back home all these years vs how most of them were a far-cry there in Aligarh were quite intriguing.
Over the next two days, I met quite a few other travellers staying there and spent hours sharing each-other’s stories with them over countless beers while fitting myself in one of the sofas in the hall. I can never imagine experiencing anything like this in a conventional hotel.
The lawn-parties that started late evening carried-on till early in the morning and even though I am not a party guy, I enjoyed watching others dance to the tunes of trance from the slowly swaying swing in the lawn. Try doing that in a hotel and you are sure to invite a lot of complaints from almost everyone around.
The Over-all Experience
I liked the easy-going nature and the experience of being like-minded people and company of the friends that I ended up extending my stay there by another day which I wanted to spend exploring south Goa.
So overall, it was a great all-round experience which I would definitely like to experience again. So much so that the next trip I and Ruchi go on another trip I will also keep the private rooms at any backpackers hostel as an accommodation option. This will give us the best of both worlds, our personal space and the hostel-experience.
Have you stayed in a backpackers hostel or are you planning to stay in one? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you.