I wanted to add this page to help out anyone who is interested in traveling to the same areas and hopefully help out on the accommodations you might need. Our budget is on the low side and we stayed below $60 a night so none of these places will break the bank, but they are not all hostels either. We used tripadvisor, booking.com, airbnb.com, hostelworld.com and hotels.com to come up with the accommodations we stayed in. I will rate them on wifi**, proximity to food (walking or taxi), cleanliness, friendliness of staff, amount of local flare (western or local) and whether or not we would stay again.
**Wifi– Fast means pages load quickly, you can have facetime/skype convos without lag and disconnection. Medium means pages load but not quickly and there is a lag in communication. Slow means sometime pages load sometimes they don’t feel like it and the connection is not strong enough to support calls via facetime or skype.
Tune Hotel: Found on Tripadvisor. We stayed here because it was close to the airport (we thought). If you are staying in Manila there is no need to find a place close to the airport just get to your hotel because the traffic is awful all the time dont waste time stopping halfway. Small rooms, fast wifi and close proximity to food (walking). Nothing special about this place but the staff was nice but did not offer suggestions on where to go. Very clean and westernized. We would not stay here again unless just as a stopping point.
Gramercy Residences: Found this place on Airbnb. Host was great and spoke wonderful english. She greeted us toured us around the facility gave us tips on food and local places to see. Hawker stalls at the bottom of the condo building great for cheap food. Supermarket within walking distance, coffee bean and Starbucks within walking distance and the residence is connected to a huge mall. Wifi is fast no lag in Skype convos, quick loading speeds very good. Very clean and fitted with western amenities. We would stay here again.
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island
The Green House: Found on airbnb. Host was knowledgable and helpful in telling us where to find the beach and restaurants. Good english although he does have a strong accent. Great breakfast, they do laundry for you and it is walking distance to beach. Tricycle ride to restaurants and downtown area, rides cost about $1 per ride and the host gives you a good idea how much to pay for each so you dont get ripped off. Pretty clean, the bathrooms do not have a divider between shower and sink/toilet so everything becomes wet. Wifi was medium but our Tattoo hotspot made it manageable. We would stay here again.
El Nido, Palawan Island
Anang Balay Turista— Found on booking.com. Host was nice and had decent english but no helpful hints to the area. Wifi was medium with a bit of a lag on skype calls but not too terrible. Beautiful view from the breakfast area and breakfast itself is wonderful, coffee is instant. We would stay here again.
Sea N Jungle— Found on Tripadvisor. Host was nice and has decent english. Wife is Filipino husband is German. Walking distance to El Nido town for tons of restaurants and the beach, although you do go up and down a lot of stairs. They are worth it though the view is great. Warning: there are a ton of stray dogs and the howl at night and occasionally fight each other for a spot on the hill, it will keep you up a night. The roosters also crow early in the morning so if you like to sleep in, skip this lodging and stay in town. Wifi is slow but we had a 4G router from Tattoo and that made it usable. Cleanliness level is not high and it is a local accommodation. No AC, bathrooms do not have a divider between shower and the rest of the bathroom, lots of ants and lizards in your room. We would not stay here again.
Cebu City, Cebu Island
Mandarin Plaza Hotel— Found on booking.com. Hotel staff were very friendly and had great english. Nice large rooms and western amenities. Walking distance to a great mall with tons of eateries and coffee shops. Wifi is fast. Very clean hotel. This was a stop to get work done and it worked marvelously for us. I would skip Cebu City though if you don’t need to hunker down and get some work done. There are much cooler places in Cebu to go visit like Oslob with the whale sharks that we didn’t get to see.
Georgetown, Penang Island
Betel Nut Lodge— Found on tripadvisor. WONDERFUL host. Spoke great english, he is a local and has tons of awesome tips on Penang street food which is what this area is known for. Wifi was medium, walking distance to restaurants, coffee shops and hawker stalls. Great staff although the owner definitely has the best english, very clean and a good mix of local flare (decorations) with western amenities (bathroom) we would stay here again.
Old Penang Guesthouse— Found on hostelworld.com great little hostel with dorm rooms and private rooms with private bath. Friendly backpackers and staff. Wifi did not work in our rooms so we worked at coffee shops down the street (it does work in the common areas I just cant comment on how fast since we always left to work). Wheelers Coffee shop on Love Lane has fast wifi as well as Glorias Coffee Bean Starbucks and Dome cafe at the mall. The location makes this place great. Walking distance to tons of street food, awesome backpacker bars and lunch spots. This town does not really open up until 9:30 so if you are early risers like us you should stay somewhere that has coffee and breakfast in house. We would definitely stay here again and recommend this area to any young people traveling through Georgetown.
Tanjung Bungah, Penang Island
Four Seasons by Sheraton: Found on booking.com. Wonderful staff and they make you feel very special. Wifi is fast walking distance to hawker 1 hawker area and a few restaurants. Very clean and very western. We would absolutely stay here again.
Batu Ferringhi, Penang Island
Holiday Inn Resort: Found on booking.com. Wonderful staff and they make you feel very special. Wifi is fast walking distance to multiple hawker areas and a ton of restaurants as it is right on the Batu strip. Very clean and very western. We would absolutely stay here again.
I&R Tasik Anaki Motel: Found on booking.com. Nice owners although they did not go out of their way to guide you around the island. They give you a quick map at the beginning and we didn’t ask any more questions. They are friendly so if you are needing info I am sure they would help out. Wifi is medium would have been fast if it weren’t so unreliable, accommodations are clean but basic. Location is good there are a ton of restaurants on the road this motel is on. No parking although we did rent a scooter and they allowed us to keep it on our porch. Local flare but with western additions like a wardrobe and toilet. We would stay here again we loved the location (walking distance to beaches) and the price was too good to beat.
Sarang Vacation Homes: Found on booking.com great place. Wifi is good, location is nice within walking distance to the amazing night market street KL has to offer! Staff is wonderful, breakfast is AMAZING and you can experiment with what you want in the morning, Malay or Western. Very clean, great hostel in the heart of KL. The only reason we wouldn’t stay again is no option for a private bathroom and the walls are very thin which don’t work well for the conference calls and webinars we have to be on.
Village Hotel Albert Court: Found on booking.com great hotel. Wifi is fast, location is great you can walk to Orchard road and 2 major hawker centers. Its right next to Little India which was a plus for us. Staff is friendly, very clean, and the decor was very nice. Cute little hotel nestled in a fun area of town. Would stay again!
Ko Samui: Dream Field Resort— Found on booking.com, great hotel medium wifi and walking distance to the beach. We needed a motorbike to get around the rest of the island and see all that it has to offer the resort is not in a walking only area of town. Go to Bophut or Chewang for that. Great staff, breakfast is nice and they have espresso :) Pool is a nice addition although the water is warm due to it being so hot outside. We would not stay here again just because we want to be walking distance to more. We would choose either Chewang or Bophut.
Ko Phangan: Angkana Bungalows— Loved this resort!!! You could easily bring a huge group of friends and rent out a few of the 8-10 bungalows they have and have an absolute blast. The staff is great and would help you book anything or just let you hangout on site. There are tons of hammocks, lounge chairs, tiki huts, and tables for hanging out and just relaxing. Wifi is fast and their “office” situation has an amazing view. Their “office” is your hammock on your porch or a high top table by the water in the shade with your feet in the sand or if you want A/C there is a desk in the room. Espresso is offered at breakfast as well as Thai and western dishes. Not walking distance to the local markets you must motorbike but there are a few other resorts within walking distance with restaurants. Very clean, lots of local flare with western amenities and we would absolutely stay there again. Actually we have talked about it and its on the list to go back to!
Ko Tao: Simple Life Talay & Divers Resort: Our first stay in Thailand did not disappoint, this was found on booking.com. Wifi was on the border between medium and fast. Not a problem for my conference calls but not strong enough to hold a webinar the entire time. Super close to wonderful food and shops. You have about 50 options within a 10 minute walk either way. Very clean, friendly staff, breakfast was great complete with espresso and muesli. Bonus the restaurant had pool tables and a bar area for people to hangout and play cards/catch up during the day and became a bar at night complete with fun music and cheap drinks. Loved this stay! I would recommend it for singles, couples, groups of friends but not families as the music does play late and might keep the little ones up.
KC Place— Found this place on booking.com. Located close to the airport link which is why we booked it. Not the best part of town but I did not feel unsafe there’s just not much going on around it, tourism wise. A few restaurants within walking distance. Wifi was medium. Staff was not always friendly and there was a bit of a language barrier, we did not feel the Thai smile while we were here. Some local flare and we would not stay here again.
Happy 3 Hotel: Wonderful hotel found on booking.com. Located in a great part of town, Siam Square is a 15 minute walk and has anything you would need. Street food, shopping, coffee shops, co working spaces and a Hard Rock Cafe if your craving some western food like we were. There are tons of things to do. The hotel has medium wifi but if you get a Tru sim card your wifi is blazing fast and you can hook multiple computers up to their wifi hotspots. Staff is super friendly, hotel is very clean and modern so no local Thai flare. Very close to a number of food options, too many to count but you have the MBK food court, Siam Paragon mall restaurants, tons in Siam Square and most of the hotels have restaurants to eat at nearby, you get the idea. We would definitely stay here again.
Centara Grand at Central World: Lovely expensive hotel in the heart of Bangkok. Found on booking.com and it is over our budget of $60 a night but it was great. Wifi was medium and it is walking distance to so many malls. Connected to Central World and walking distance to MBK, Siam Paragon and Siam Center this hotel sure packs a punch if you want to update your wardrobe or pick up some great cheap finds at MBK. Wonderful rooftop pool and bar with happy hour and an amazing view of the city! We would not stay here again because it is out of our budget but it is a great hotel to upgrade and enjoy!
Chillax Hotel: This hotel is located near Old Bangkok and is walking distance to The Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha, Wat Arun and Khao San Road. Great location to explore this part of Bangkok! Location is great for food stalls as well as restaurants and sightseeing. There is also a great rooftop pool but it does get packed so arrive early if you want to get a chair. Wifi is medium. Staff is friendly and hotel is clean. It is a westernized hotel in the heart of great sightseeing in Bangkok. We would not stay here again due to wifi and lack of public transportation to the rest of the city, you have to get a tuk tuk or taxi.
Thapae Loft: We loved this hotel! Had a great option for the 3 of us staying at this hotel and the price included breakfast and it was a great breakfast at that! Espresso and muesli make me a happy camper. Wifi was medium, not ideal for webinars nor conference calls, but we were there on vacation so it didn’t bother us. Very close to food, the hotel is within the city walls so you are close to just about everything, festivals, night markets, food stalls, restaurants, it’s all walking distance. Staff is very friendly and the hotel is modern and new (opened in Feb 2015) with just a bit of local flare. There is a really cool VW bus converted into a bar in the lobby area that served espresso and alcoholic beverages. The pool is a great addition and wonderful after a long day in the heat in Chiang Mai. We would absolutely stay here again if we went back to Chiang Mai.
Kata Beach: Sugar Marina Resort— Wonderful hotel that is walking distance to the beach and multiple motorbike rentals. Tons of restaurants and shops nearby. Very friendly staff, breakfast is included and nice. Wifi is slow and you have to sign in each time you leave the hotel. Found on booking.com. We would not stay here again due to wifi issues.
Aonang Beach: Red Ginger Chic Resort— Beautiful resort found on booking.com. We upgraded to the pool access rooms which put us above our $60 range but it was well worth it! If you do not upgrade though you are within the $60. Breakfast is a great buffet with tons of options but no espresso and it is included in your price. Wifi was slow but we were on vacation with friends so it did not bother us. If you want to get the upgrade we highly recommend it! Very cool swim up bar with happy hour and you can take your food/drinks back to your private pool connected to your room. Super fun for friends! This hotel is also within walking distance to Ao Nang beach and Nopparat Thara beach both of which have great restaurants. We would stay here again with friends but would have to find a better wifi hotel if it were just the two of us in AoNang again.
Siem Reap: Chez Moi Spa and Suite: We loved this absolute gem we found in Siem Reap. Found on booking.com we spend around $30 a night and got a fruit basket, laundry, free massages, pool, breakfast, free tuk tuks to town and the staff is absolutely fantastic. The chef at the restaurant is amazing as well! Wifi was great and held webinars and skype calls well. Cleanliness is a 10, staff is an 11, a bit of a walk into town but the resort came with free tuk tuk rides so what would be an 8 is bumped to a 9. We would not stay anywhere else if we return to Siem Reap, it is our favorite place we have stayed in 4 months on the road living in hotels and I do not anticipate it to be beaten.
Rose Royal: This hotel we found on booking.com and is a bit outdated, the only good thing they have going for them is their staff is friendly and their pool is lovely. Room is dirty, wifi is not strong, it was under construction while we were there and the workers made us feel uncomfortable, breakfast is sub par and had ants crawling on our food. We would not stay here again nor recommend anyone to stay here.
Phnom Penh: VMansion Boutique Hotel: Found on booking.com and we loved this hotel. Staff is very friendly, breakfast is great, pool is nice and surrounded by lush green plants which helps with privacy. Wifi is decent but not strong enough for skype calls we had to go to nearby coffee shops– Gloria Jeans has the best wifi in the area. Very clean, staff is great, walking distance to loads of places but its a longer walk at around 10-15 mins. Lovely Cambodian flare and they have great tours at the front desk. We would come back to this hotel.
The Sam Boutique Hotel: This hotel was a bit closer to the western coffee shop scene in Phnom Penh so we opted here for a portion of our stay. We found it on booking.com and really enjoyed it. The pool is nice and you can catch some sun while a lot of other hotels in Cambodia and SEA are shaded sunning isn’t always an option. Staff is very friendly, breakfast was not included so we ate at nearby Brown coffee shop (great bfast and coffee, poor wifi). Hotel is clean but there was an issue with the sewer system and our bathroom smelled musty. Very close to nearby restaurants tons within 5 minutes. Wifi is not strong enough for skype calls but again we used coffee shops. If we were in Phnom Penh again we would opt for VMansion but if it were full we would not hesitate to book this hotel again.
Seminyak: Astagina Resort Villa and Spa: What an oasis. Bali is full of killer hotels and this one did not disappoint. The best part of this hotel is the pool and cabanas as well as the bed. After 4 months of hard SEA beds and rough sheets to lay on a pillowtop mattress with high thread count sheets almost felt like I was back home and I did not want to move. Wifi was great outside the room but inside the room was difficult to connect. You can easily hold skype calls with great picture. Staff is wonderful, great balinese architecture, decent breakfast (buffet), very close to restaurants and bars and within 10 minutes to the beach. We would absolutely stay here again.
Roomarama: We love this place. It is on a quiet side street but still close to town and Nalu bowls which is our favorite restaurant (Shelter on Drupadi). A 10 minute walk to the beach, private pool, espresso machine, juicer, daily housekeeping, all the perks of Balinese life. Wifi is strong, staff is wonderful, no breakfast but with all the amenities included you can easily make your own. Also nice because it has multiple spaces to use, studio apt, porch, and downstairs community area. Price is awesome too at below $60 a night. We would definitely stay here again.
Air Bnb Villa Sabbia: OMG this place is awesome. If you are in Seminyak this is where I would recommend if you want a villa. Peaceful, strong wifi, 2-3 bedrooms, brand spankin new, great staff, private pool, beautifully decorated. 5 minutes to the beach and also very close to restaurants. Walking distance to so many great places and shopping. This will be our first choice when we come back to Seminyak. This place is above budget and larger since we were with others when we stayed here.
Ubud: Air bnb. This was a nice spot to spend some time and unique. My mom wanted a jungle view and this place delivered. Rice field views and jungle around complete with outdoor showers. Wifi was not good and its a bit of a walk on bad roads to get into town. Staff was great and breakfast was lovely. Pool was refreshing and a great temp. We would not stay here again due to wifi and its a bit dirtier than pics and has tons of insects.
Matahari Villas: Upcoming stay
Bingin Beach: Hurry Slowly. I almost didn’t want to put this one on here because we loved it so much and wanted to keep it a secret. This place is the coolest place we have seen to date, we have been gone for a solid 6 months currently. Unreal cliff views, sunsets, steps to the beach (161) close to some warungs which have cheap food on the beach. The people that own the house live there while we stayed but they are awesome and we had a blast getting to know them. The only downside is that the wifi is bad, which it is in all of Bingin Beach. We will be tucking this place away for our vacations back to Bali in the future. Staff is wonderful and it includes breakfast each day. You can also order lunch and pay for it at cheap prices. Beer, sodas, water etc all in the house because they know they are a bit far from a supermarket.
Cairns: Royal Palm Villas: We enjoyed this stay. This hotel is semi-close to the action of downtown Cairns. It is a self-contained apartment so that was nice to be able to cook for ourselves after 5 months of eating out. Although there is no staff and we have become accustomed to this being spoiled in Asia for 5 months. It’s close to a few restaurants and a 24 hours grocery store which is fantastic. Wifi is good and free which is hard to come by in Australia. It is close to the Espalande which is awesome for walking and running on the boardwalk but also sunning in the grass. This hotel is above budget due to Australia being a bit more expensive than Asia, we paid roughly 80/night.
Sydney: Apartment on Airbnb: We adored this apartment. Great wifi (free), close to tons of coffee shops and restaurants. Lovely little residential neighborhood we felt like locals at the end of the week. The hosts here are lovely and give great recommendations. Price is above budget, Sydney is expensive, we paid roughly $90 a night. Great local flare as it is an old Victorian home and we would not think of anywhere else in Paddington to stay next time we visit.