About BackHome Kuala Lumpur Hostel
International backpackers have been raving about this funky, newly opened hostel in downtown Kuala Lumpur, so it got us curious.
I’m a serial backpacker. Not because I’m a tightwad, but over the years, I had some of my best holiday experiences staying at quirky and quaint hostels.
Take the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel near San Francisco. The hostel is a historic cottage that sits next to a 134-year-old lighthouse perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Similar hostel in other parts of the world
On a trip to Kyoto last year, my partner and I stayed in a machiya, a 100-year-old traditional wooden merchant house converted into a hostel.
We spent many lazy afternoons sipping green tea in the tatami room overlooking the tranquil Zen garden in the courtyard.
In July, I stayed in the ultra-chic Pod Hotel in New York City with bunk beds and all, and it’s a stone’s throw from the Museum of Modern Art (Moma).
So when I read about the hip, funky BackHome Kuala Lumpur Hostel, I dragged my partner there to check in for the night.
Smack in Jalan Tun H. S. Lee, the backpacker hostel has been converted from four pre-war shoplots.
Source: The Star
Its design recently clinched the 2009 PAM Awards, under the Adaptive Reuse category. The award is given out annually by the Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) for outstanding Malaysian architecture.
Attractions of the hostel
Opened in July 2009, the hostel has been getting rave reviews from global travelers.
Backpackers have been praising BackHome’s design, cleanliness and friendly services on Hostelworld.com, an international hostel booking portal.
Backhome hostel location
BackHome is conveniently located near Masjid Jamek LRT station and is just a few minutes’ stroll to the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve and Petaling Street.
The hostel can accommodate up to 42 guests and has seven dormitories and two private double rooms. Each dormitory has four to eight beds.
The hostel facilities
The rooms come equipped with air-conditioning, security lockers and reading light. Bed or room rates include linen, WiFi, breakfast and all-day coffee and tea.
Guests can hang out at the cosy lounge and watch free DVD movies or use the two computers with Internet access (pay by usage). The mini library stocks tourist brochures, novels and travel guides.
The interior design of Backhome
BackHome’s raw concrete finish, brick walls and marine plywood doors scream “industrial chic”, minus the antique furniture though.
It looks cool but some folks may find it hard to get used to the cold concrete flooring and “unfinished” look. Our spacious double room comes with an ample sink that sits on a concrete slab and lots of built-in storage.
I love the large Louvre window that lets in lots of light and fresh air. The only gripe is that the room doesn’t have a fan since we don’t fancy air-conditioning.
The bedroom and bathroom
Every detail in the hostel was well thought-out. The bunk beds are designed to maximize privacy and the lockers are big enough to stuff your 85-litre backpacks. Each dorm bed comes with a foldaway table, power socket and reading lamp.
An airy courtyard with light streaming from the skylight separates the bathrooms from the rooms. The shower stalls only have a small section of mosaic tiles, which I thought was a brilliant idea. No chipped tiles or ceramics to replace, a good way to whittle down expenses. And the toilets and shower stalls are spotless!
The experience of staying at Backhome
We checked in late on a Monday evening, grabbed some dinner at Central Market and took a leisurely stroll around the area where we discovered some lovely Art Deco and Straits Chinese heritage buildings.
When bedtime came, my “nightmare” arrived. Unfortunately, I’m a light sleeper.
At about midnight, I woke up to sounds of people chatting in the courtyard, just outside our room. Though they weren’t really loud, I struggled to fall asleep again.
Some guests who stayed in the dorms facing the street have complained about the din from the traffic on Tun H. S. Lee Road. I guess the solution is a good pair of ear plugs.
After waking up the next morning
Next morning, we took a stroll up Bukit Nanas Reserve, the oldest forest reserve in the country. Though bleary-eyed, I was glad to take in some fresh air while enjoying the smells of our tropical foliage.
After a scrumptious thosai breakfast, we sat at the restaurant’s five-foot way, sipping lime juice and watching the world go by — or rather harried-looking office workers stuck in traffic.
So glad it wasn’t us . . .
For more information, check out backhome.com.my. Rates start from RM35/dorm bed or RM90/double room.
Nearby attractions that you might be interested
- Coliseum Cafe – A popular cafe around this area. Malaysian-style Western cuisine has been the popular dish for this restaurant since colonial times. In the evening, the best thing to do is to sit back and order some beers and enjoy the signature sizzling steak while watching some games on the tv.
- Sultan Abdul Samad Building – Dubbed as one of the most photographed structure in Kuala Lumpur, the Sultan Abdul Samad building is truly a unique heritage building. Located just a stone throw away, you could take a trip of one to two hours to visit this magnificent building.
- Santa Chapati House – Chapati is a type of Indian bread which is affordable and yet a healthy alternative to most of KL’s heavy foods. There is a Chapati joint which is located just right across the street from the hostel.
- Graffiti Hunting – Nearby alleys and back lanes in some parts of the Tun H.S. Lee street has some of the most amazing graffiti street art. If you like to explore and is up for the challenge, you might be able to find some graffiti art around this area.
- KL Heritage Trail – Backhome hostel is surrounded by Colonial-era structures with their original facades left intact. Here are some of the popular buildings: Masjid Jamek, Royal Selangor Club, Cathedral of Saint Mary The Virgin, KL Railway Station, National History Museum, Malaysian Tourism Information Complex, Badan Warisan.