Quick Guide to Booking Accommodation in Southeast Asia

Quick guide to booking accommodation in southeast asia - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog

You’ll find that a lot of the posts on this travel blog make mention of Southeast Asia. That’s because I freakin’ love the place!

Incredible culture, sophisticated scams, delicious food, non-stop fun and cheappppp. Oh so cheap…

Speaking of cheap, let’s talk about booking rooms in the region!

Booking Rooms in Southeast Asia

Because tourism is a massive financial pillar for most Southeast Asian countries, there are a ton of options.

That volume of options and the consequential cut-throat competition in the Southeast Asian accommodation market means finding a quality room doesn’t take much effort.

Unlike mainstream destinations like western Europe, in my experience, you don’t have to book rooms in advance in order to be guaranteed a place to stay that meets your price and comfort standards – even during high season.

You’re free to get dropped off in a city, find an area you like, and start popping into hotels, hostels and guesthouses to ask if they have availability. You’ll almost certainly find something you like (for information on the differences between accommodation types like hostels and hotels, check out this article).

Hotel with semi indoor pool in Bali Indonesia | fckitybye.com | photo by Ryan Somohano
A room I REALLY liked Bali, Indonesia. It was cheap ($14.00 per night) and had a covered pool!

Booking Rooms in Southeast Asia in Advanced Online V.S. In Person

As I said, the ease in which you can find rooms in Southeast Asia means that you don’t need a precise itinerary when traveling through the area. You can stay in a city for however long you like and when you’re ready to move on, you can mosey on over to the next city and not worry about finding a decent spot to sleep.

In the months I spent strolling through Southeast Asia I never booked a room more than a few hours in advance and was only disappointed one time with the price I had to pay for a quality room (a whopping $20.00 in Ho Chi Mihn City split between two people).

Booking a room in advance online is a cake walk for Southeast Asia. When I was traveling through the area, most times I'd wait until the last day in the city I was in, open the agoda.com app, look up available rooms in the city I was headed to and book a room straight from my phone. If I didn’t feel like booking from my phone for whatever reason, I would just bookmark the rooms I was interested in, wait until I arrived at my destination city and ask the hotels I bookmarked in person if they had availability.

Asking to see what hotels/hostels/guesthouses/etc. have available in person rather than booking in advanced online actually comes with some advantages...

Sometimes you look at a hotel’s pictures online and something doesn’t feel right… It could be that the hotel’s reviews are positive but seem to all be written in the same voice (possibly fake), the pictures may feel reminiscent of pictures you saw another hotel using, you may not be able to tell how small a room is with the way photos were taken, etc. 

If you choose to book a room in person, when you walk up to your accommodation's front desk, you can ask to see the room prior to paying.

That means that you can't get duped by a misleading online profile.

Another perceived advantage to booking a room in person is that rates are typically lower when you pay at the front desk of a place as opposed to going through a middle-man booking website. Getting a better rate in person as opposed to online isn't always the case though... As a matter of fact, I've had mixed results doing that over the years.

Because of my inconclusive success getting discounts in person, I've progressively gotten into the practice of just booking rooms through agoda.com a day or so in advanced when I'm traveling through Southeast Asia.

What Is Agoda.com?

Agoda.com is a booking site that has consistently offered me the best selection of budget accommodation in Southeast Asia. The website/app's interface is easy to navigate, picking and paying for rooms is simple, and customer service is excellent!

Agoda.com home screen on 2/13/18
agoda.com home screen

One time I pre-booked a room on an island in Thailand (Ko Phi Phi) and the day I was scheduled to take a boat out to the island, weather conditions made it so no boats could launch.

I ended up missing my check-in date.

I was confident my travel insurance would cover this event but just in case, I emailed Agoda and asked if it would be possible to shift my booking down a day.

They emailed me back within a few hours and took care of everything. No hassle. No fees.

They earned my trust and business for life during that interaction and while Agoda by no means has the best selection of accommodation options everywhere in the world, when traveling in Southeast Asia, I firmly believe that making Agoda your first destination to book a room is a choice that you won’t regret! 

To get the best deal possible, I always recommend taking whatever accommodation you find on Agoda and cross-referencing its prices with hostelworld.com and hotels.com!

What Should You Expect to Pay For a Room in Southeast Asia?

As far as room prices in Southeast Asia go, I usually pay between $9.00 and $14.00 for a double room (a two person room) per night (I've paid as low as $7.00 and as much as $20.00 but those were outliers.)

The quality of the rooms I've stayed in 95% of the time have been perfectly fine. 5% of the time not so much (I once checked into a room that was already occupied... by about a hundred indestructible roaches. The cleaners at this hotel are definitely not getting gift bags from me during housekeeping appreciation week.).

Wrapping Up Booking Accommodation in Southeast Asia

There you have it! Everything you need to know when booking accommodation in Southeast Asia.

In summary, don't feel pressured to book rooms in advance when traveling through the region if you don't want to and expect to pay between $7.00 - $20.00 for budget double rooms.

Are you ready to start having the time of your life traveling through places like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other gorgeous, affordable, and fun Southeast Asian countries? If so, subscribe to my mailing list below to learn how to start making thousands of dollars online and to learn how you can start traveling the world!