Time to get specific, forget the minor inconveniences of hostels in Europe. Creaky bed..oh dear. Slight smell of damp, how appalling! Oh gone are the days of complimentary shower gel, towels and general cleanliness. Backpacking in South East Asia, hostel 'luxuries' include clean sheets, hot water and a friendly cockroach to keep you company in the bathroom. You're lucky if the bed creaks, that means you have a spring mattress instead of a square of foam covered by a sheet. The smell of damp is something which in time you will become familiar with as the majority of hostel bathrooms come with an attractive layer of black mould and no fan. The cons of accommodation are extensive enough to produce a novel, but here are my favourite few...
1.) The toilet situation- Whether it's a blocked pipe or a hole in the ground, toilets are guaranteed to be a hassle at some point in South East Asia. Running out of toilet roll won't even cross your mind, mainly because there won't be any there to begin with. However, you will be supplied with a gigantic, brightly coloured plastic bucket brimming with stagnant water. This, you soon learn, comes fitted with something resembling a plastic pan with which you are welcomed to scoop up some putrid water to both flush the toilet and wash yourself (delightful!). My advice: make toilet paper part of your day pack essentials checklist so you're never caught off guard.
2.) Wet rooms- Do not fool yourself into thinking wet rooms are desirable, they are NOT. They are called wet rooms because there is no space for a shower cubicle, so the erratic shower head nailed to the wall spits out water at every angle soaking everything in its path. After a while your learn that unless you put your beloved toilet paper in the bedroom it will soon become an unusable soggy waste. Oh and don't forget that the bathroom floor will ALWAYS be wet, only when forgetting this and quickly popping into the bathroom with your shoes still on do you realise just how messy this can get; dusty Asian roads and wet floors equal dirt everywhere.
3.) Crepe paper walls- I needn't describe this one in too much detail as I'm sure you can imagine the horrors which entail. You may be surprised to know that it isn't the neighbour's raucous sex which is the most disturbing, but their noisy bouts of upset stomachs.