No matter where you are in the world, a drink at the local backpacker bar is bound to be a great time. Not only are drinks usually quite cheap, but there is also a good chance that the bars will actually be full almost every night of the week. What’s more, they are typically filled with open-minded travellers that are just looking to have a good time and experience what the local culture has to offer, i.e., it’s a great place to meet foreign girls (or boys).
A few months ago we looked at the best backpacker bars in Canada. Today we have decided to head east, southeast to be precise, and will cover one of the most popular backpacker areas of the globe, Southeast Asia.
So without further adieu, here are the best Backpacker Bars across Southeast Asia:
Although both located in Southeast Asia, and a top backpacker destination, our first entry for best backpacker bar locations is sadly lacking in one major feature – alcohol. Even though the sale and public consumption of alcohol is banned in Brunei, non-Muslims are allowed to bring a limited amount of booze for their own personal consumption. So even though your only chance of getting a drink at a bar is to make friends with an ex-pat that coincidentally enough has a fully stocked bar in their home, we decided to include Brunei nonetheless. With its giant palaces, lush rainforests, sandy beaches and water villages, Brunei is a pretty awesome place to visit when embarking on a backpacking tour through the region.
Located on Street 278 in bustling Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Top Banana Guesthouse is legend in its own right. Not only is this hostel a ‘Top Choice’ by Lonely Planet, but its amazing ‘sky bar’ is also a top choice when backpackers are looking for a fun and inviting place to grab a cheap and tasty drink in the heart of Cambodia.
East Timor’s one and only hostel, The East Timor Backpackers, is located in downtown Dili. It’s more than just a cheap place to crash for the night, it’s also the home of the iconic Smokehouse bar-café. So whether you’re a backpacker just passing through, an ex-pat looking to reconnect with your countrymen (or women), or just a local looking to mingle with some foreigners, the Smokehouse is place to be any night of the week. The bar is located out back in the courtyard, and as the name may imply, it is definitely smoker friendly.
If you are looking for a great hostel bar in Indonesia, than look no further than Bali’s Island Hotel. Not only is this hostel located in a prime location, right near Legian Beach and just a 5-minute walk away from Double 6 Beach, but there are also plenty of great clubs and bars in the area. But of course being a list of the best backpacker bars in Southeast Asia, what makes this hostel really special is the rooftop bbq and bar.
Located near the Mekong River in Vientiane, Laos, is the Sihome Backpackers Hostel. I can go on and on how friendly the staff are and how amazing the hostel is, but we all know what you are really here for, the hostel bar. Located on the front patio the bar doesn’t only serve up your favourite drinks, but they also have a free vodka happy hour. That’s right, free vodka every night after 9pm!
Billed as a backpacker and a party music hostel, the Reggae Mansion Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is by far the coolest hostel in the entire area. Situated in a colonial building near Chinatown, the amazing rooftop bar provides spectacular sights of the city. Furthermore, the drink prices are actually affordable.
Located on the small island of Boracay, Philippines, and just a short walk from the renowned White Beach, is the Frendz Resort. This unique hostel is comprised of a collection of bungalows that ring a lush tropical garden, which contains probably the best hostel bar in all of the Philippines. With great food at even better prices, as well as a daily happy hour specials, theme nights, and live music nights, Frendz Resort easily made it into our list of the best backpacker bars in Southeast Asia.
If you are looking to party in Thailand, especially for one of the world famous Full Moon parties in Koh Phangan, then the Party Hostel is the place to be. Not only will the hostel provide you with a free breakfast and a free vodka bucket every day, but they also have the Outback Bar, which can keep you in a steady supply for all your Full Moon party bucket needs.
It can be hard to find a party hostel in Vietnam, or even a traditional hostel for that matter, but your best bet is the Hanoi Backpacker’s Hostel in Hanoi, Vietnam. From free beer and BBQ Sunday’s to a happy hour that starts every day on the rooftop bar after 5pm, this hostel has by far the best backpacker bar in Vietnam.
Let us know your thoughts, and if there are any hostel bars we may have missed, in the comments below.
About the Author
Corey Rozon is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada.