In 2018, I embarked on my first ever big solo international backpacking adventure through Southeast Asia and Oceania. As a backpacker, I gave up so much of my comfort to save money. I would stay in the cheapest hostels I could find, only eat street food, and would wash my clothing in a sink when it absolutely needed cleaning.
I was cheap. And well, when you are cheap, the majority of the time you really get what you pay for.
I often stayed in hostels that had no windows, rooms without locks, bugs crawling around, dirty bed sheets, on-going construction next door at all hours of the day, rooms with 16-20 people in bunk beds crammed into a closet-sized space, and had bathrooms that were not always maintained.
However, my worst hostel experience was actually the first hostel I ever stayed in on that backpacking trip. I was exhausted. I had arrived to my hostel in Little India, Singapore after 11 pm and I practically crawled up two flights of stairs with my backpack. It took me a couple tries to find the correct room with it being so dark and my eyes did not want to stay open. When I finally found my room and my assigned bed, I threw myself into bed with my clothes still on and passed out cold from exhaustion.
The next morning, I took my time waking up and getting myself somewhat unpacked. I grabbed my toiletries and travel towel and walked down the hallway to find the bathroom. I needed a shower. Badly.
I walked into the bathroom and I did a happy dance when I saw one of the two shower stalls unoccupied. I immediately staked my claim and locked myself inside. I turned around and shuddered in complete disgust. My eyes scanned the entire shower from top to bottom. There was mold and grime all around the walls and shower head, a large spider web and spider hung in the left corner of the ceiling above my shower, and the drain was full of mold, dirt and hair. You have no idea how happy I was that I had my flip flops with me.
I turned back around to the shower door to find no hooks, or at least any functional hooks. Luckily, there was a ledge for me to put my toiletry bag. I quickly stripped down, threw my clothes over the door and walked over to the shower knob. The shower was actually a decent size, but the puke-green walls did not make it any more inviting. It took me at least a minute to figure out how to turn the shower on.
The instant the cold water hit me I squirmed and let out a little squeak. A cold shower…yay!
I slowly rinsed my entire body in cold water and reached for my bag on the ledge. I screamed so loud that I bet the entire hallway heard me. There were worms and ants and spiders crawling all around the ledge and around my bag! Eww!! I almost vomited.
I squatted down in the shower just in case I was to vomit and I wish I hadn’t looked down. I saw even more worms and bugs crawling down the walls and in the shower corners. I felt so gross and wanted to scream again. I stood up so fast and I grabbed my shampoo and body wash and took the fastest shower I think I have ever taken in my life. I turned off the cold water, dried myself off and quickly put my clothes back on. I closed up my bag and rinsed off the bugs crawling on it with the shower water.
Ew… Ew… Ewwwwwww!!
I unlocked the door and got the hell out of the shower. I was shaking and still wanted to vomit. My shoes squeaked all the way to the sinks. I set my bag down again and immediately picked it back up. The counter was full of more bugs and worms and the sinks were hair and bug infested as well. Ewwwwwww!!
I threw up in my mouth that time. I shuddered and saw my look of disgust in the mirror. I held my bag in between my legs and fished out my toothbrush and toothpaste. I turned on the tap and rinsed my toothbrush and I watched every single bug crawling around my sink and all the flies on the mirror. I had barely brushed my teeth before I was already rinsing it out. I removed my bag from between my legs and quickly squeaked out of the bathroom.
Never again. Never again. Never again.
I shuddered all the way down the hallway and back into my room. I checked my toiletry bag before I set it down on my bed and shook with disgust. I laughed to myself, remembering how much I had paid for my hostel stay. You really get what you pay for.
The fact that the shower locked was the best part of my entire morning.