Many foreign backpackers now prefer to experience a stay at dorms with original designs.
Hostels with dormitory rooms have been gaining in popularity in Da Lat and Hanoi over recent times, with a lot of newcomers joining the market.
Da Lat was the first place to adopt the trend towards hostels in Vietnam, with many featuring designs that were different from elsewhere. For example, The Circle Vietnam Hostel has rooms in a tube shape, and opened in October.
When construction began in July it was a hard time, as Da Lat was hit by rain and progress slowed down, the owner, Mr. Nguyen Quang Khai, said. Because the shape of the rooms is totally new, he had to do a lot of research and seek input from many experts.
“All we had was information and photos, which were only for reference purposes, so we still had to think about materials and construction methods that were suitable for Da Lat’s weather and location,” Mr. Khai said. “We had to design and mix the colors so it would suit the tastes of our main target customer - backpackers, who love freedom and new experiences.”
In Da Lat are many other hostels with great designs, such as Ken’s House Backpacker - Original, Beepub, and Enjoy Da Lat. Each has its own uniqueness so travelers have plenty of choice about where to stay.
Hanoi’s hostel market is growing but is not as vibrant as Da Lat’s. One of the well-known newcomers is Hanoi Rocks, with a queue for free beer snaking around outside its Hang Duong Street location in the Old Quarter. It was established to cater only to foreign backpackers coming to the city.
The cost per night is $5 to $6 per person. Besides the dormitory rooms there are other services such as tour bookings and information on clubs, pubs and restaurants. Tours are mainly designed based on customer needs, in groups of around 20 people. Destinations include Sapa, Ha Giang, Da Nang, Quang Binh, and elsewhere, averaging $100 to $150.
“We create tours that provide practical experiences, trips to the peaceful countryside, and exploration of untouched places,” said one of the owners of Hanoi Rocks. “Foreigners love these rather than luxurious and noisy places.” Creating the tours first came about from response to customer demand but has proved to be profitable. Restaurants, clubs and pubs are popular places for customers to hang out, yet most close at midnight.