In an earlier post I discussed our flights for our upcoming trip to S.E.Asia & how I managed to travel to 3 different countries for all 5 of us, for under $2,500. In this post I will discuss our accommodation choices.
Travelling with 5 people is very expensive when you have to book hotels, so much so that for us its not within our budget. I have avoided traveling overseas until now for this very reason. Until a girl at work told me about Airbnb.
Airbnb is a website where people rent out accommodation including apartments, private rooms, boats, manors, castles even private islands. It lists 500,000 options in 192 different countries. Each property has a host that you liaise with direct & their profile provides feedback for you to review before booking. The reviews will advise you of any issues to do with location, transport options, cleanliness & lodging that may have been overstated in there advertising. Nothing worse than arriving somewhere & it looks nothing like what you thought you had booked & paid for.
Airbnb has a very user friendly app for iPhones & Android & can also be accessed via a website. I viewed & booked all our accommodation through the iPhone app. All users are required to go through the verification process which requires you to provide identification & contact details. Hosts will not approve your applications until the verification process is complete.
I started looking at apartments in Hong Kong & Kuala Lumpur. Last year when I had a girls trip to Hong Kong with my mum & sister, we shared a room at the Kowloon Shangri La & it cost us $3,000. That was for 3 of us sharing a room, it would be double that for 2 rooms to accommodate 5 people. I looked at other hotels that were 3 star but it still worked out to be really expensive, due to the requirement of 2 rooms.
The Kowloon Shangri La Hotel was in a great location in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), I loved being so close to everything & especially the MTR. When I started looking at apartments on AirBNB my hope was that we would find something in TST. I spoke to a number of hosts of various apartments & prices. I then come across a small apartment with 1 master bedroom & a pull out couch that makes a double bed. The apartment is very small & I am aware of that, I am not expecting it to be the Taj Mahal. We wont be spending much time there as we are going to Macau, Disneyland HK, Ocean Park, Stanley Market & a day to explore Hong Kong Island. Why spend a lot of money when all we are going to do is sleep there!
This particular apartment is in TST & ticks all the boxes for me & best of all its 5 mins walk to TST station. I chatted back & forth to the host & eventually booked this lovely apartment. It has wifi, refrigerator, bathroom & a lift in the building. All for $680 for 6 nights, yes that’s correct under $100 a night for 5 people in a prime location. I could not be happier.
I then started to focus on Kuala Lumpur, a friend told me the best places to stay is the Golden Triangle or Bukit Bintang as its very central for food & shopping. So again I checked out all the reviews & liaised with the host. I decided on an apartment very central in the Golden Triangle. My application was accepted & the host forwarded me the apartment details. To my amazement the apartment is a penthouse!! Now I’m chuffed.
So I have myself an apartment penthouse in prime location in Kuala Lumpur for $245 for 2 nights, again you would never be able to get a hotel for that prices. These prices also include a cleaner that cleans the apartment on your departure.
So far I’m pretty impressed with everything to do with Airbnb. I will post again with how it went on our return. I am very positive about my contact with the hosts. Both have provided information on getting from the airport to the apartment. They have advised they will meet & greet us, details to be confirmed closer to the date of travel.
I wont tell you about my accommodation choice in Borneo as this is my little splurge! This is when my big birthday falls & we have gone all out with another Shangri La experience. However I will take loads of pics & post from there.