The world’s cheapest hostel – US$1 per night

Here at Price of Travel we’ve been researching the costs of travel-related things for every major destination around the world, including prices of accommodation, attractions, transportation, food, drinks, and more, now featuring over 100 cities. Needless to say, there are some fascinating facts mixed in with all of this, and one we’d like to bring your attention to here is what must be the world’s cheapest hostel.

It’s well known that the cheapest travel destinations in the world are all in southern Asia, most notably Southeast Asia and India, so it’s of little surprise that this hostel is located in Cambodia. What is a bit surprising is that it’s not a forgotten relic in some obscure rural town, but rather a well-located guesthouse in the wonderful Siem Reap, which of course is the staging ground for all tours of the amazing Angkor Wat complex.

Meet the Garden Village Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia

While it’s true that the Garden Village Guesthouse is not your typical hostel, it’s more than a campground, and the US$1 dorm beds are far better than sleeping rough in a public park.

But, there’s a catch…

The $1 dorm beds are in a thatched-roof hut that is partially open to the elements. It appears that you do get a mattress, pillow, towel, and even a mosquito net, but that’s it. There’s also no proper locker system out there so you have to leave your valuables at reception when you are away.

Nighttime average low temperatures are steady, ranging from 79F/26C in March to 68F/20C in January, and it’s always humid, so it might not be too comfortable on the warmest nights, but at least you’ll never be cold.

Also, the dorm beds are right next to the kitchen, so you need to be prepared for some noise and smells while you are saving all that money.

On the other hand, the Garden Village offers:

  • Free pickup from the airport or bus terminal
  • Free (slow) Wi-Fi in the public areas
  • A volleyball court
  • Laundry service
  • Cheap bicycle rental
  • Affordable Khmer restaurant
  • Rooftop bar with cheap beer

So you really do get most of the normal benefits of staying at a hostel, even for this ridiculously low price.

Want something better, Mr. Moneybags?

If you can afford US$6 per night you can get a “standard single” room of your own, ranging up to a “deluxe triple” room for US$13.

You can’t book the $1 dorms online, but you can book all the other private rooms from their website. I’m told you can reserve the $1 dorms by emailing them, so you won’t have to just roll the dice and hope one is open.

Lest you think the Garden Village is just trying to get people stuck in some remote place to sell them food and drinks, it is actually very well located, only a few blocks from Pub Street and the main tourist district of Siem Reap. Also, they have a good and cheap restaurant, plus 50-cent Angkor draft beers available all day at their sunset rooftop terrace.

The odd extremes in Siem Reap

From an economics standpoint, it’s interesting that the world’s cheapest dorm beds are in the town built around what is actually Southeast Asia’s single most expensive (and probably most impressive) attraction. Admission to the Angkor Wat temples costs US$20, and once you enter you see that it’s easily worth it and that the money is going to a good cause and a well-run operation. Still, many museums in Southeast Asia cost under US$1 to enter, and even many of the most impressive ruins cost only $3 or so per person.

Also, prices in Siem Reap for almost everything else are incredibly cheap, with those same 50-cent Angkor draft beers available almost everywhere, and full delicious Khmer meals for around $2.

On the other hand, there are amazing resorts just outside the main city that charge up to $800 per night. This truly is one destination that can honestly claim that it can be visited on any kind of budget.

So where's the second cheapest hostel?

As far as we’ve found, the Hotel Silver Home in Kathmandu, Nepal earns that honor with their US$2 dorm beds, which are also completely indoors. Prices in Kathmandu can also be shockingly low, and there are even reports of US$1 hotel rooms, though they may be like similarly priced rooms in rural India where you get a bed in a private home, with no hostel/hotel services at all.

Do you know of any hostels that are as cheap or cheaper than these?

Dorm photos courtesy of Daniel Massie

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All Comments

  1. Jan says:

    Even after a year in Asia I was surprised that you found a $1 hotel room. But apparently we are talking dorm beds here. I stayed in one which was half the price in Jaisalmer, India for 30 RS a night. The name of the place is called Shiva Guesthouse, it’s only a 4 dorm room and the atmosphere is just brilliant over there.

    By the way, in reply to John, it is even possible to bargain down these rooms for free and there are similar constructions and prices in Laos. But with the fact that you are forced to have all your meals there they wouldn’t count for my ‘cheapest hotels’ list.

  2. toxica_poisonic_venoma says:

    Wow!!!So nice!!It’s so cute!!I want to be here someday…:-)

  3. John says:

    On the Annapurna circuit in Nepal village teahouses offer rooms for as little as 50 Nepal rupees so long as you eat with them – not that there is much of an alternative usually. The tasty and nourishing dal baat gets more expensive the higher you climb, which is fair enough since the rice is carried in on the back of a mule or a porter. And you get second helpings. I drank chhang, the home brewed millet beer, at 40 rupees a glass. Very refreshing, and stronger than you think.

  4. Grunts67 says:

    I have stayed in Garden Village in the 1$ dorm bed. It was a fun experience and I got bragging right now ! It’s really safe as there’s guests and staffs walking around all the times. As for your valuable, as Roger said, people who tend to rent those bed have nothing of value with them. Also, the hostel have a safe if you have valuable.

    The only complaint will be the noise. A lot of people (mostly) drunk walking and talking while passing your bed. If you have a little more money or you want some intimacy (for 1$ you got none), the 3$ bungalow are really worth the cost­.

  5. James says:

    The $1 rooms are great for people with almost absolutely no money at all, but it does come with the risk of having your throat slit, all your valuables stolen, etc. etc. I am not a cynic, it would be quite fun to be on guard all the time! Live a little. Live with the locals, enjoy, mingle! For the price of half a chocolate! Great deal!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      James, that’s kind of a fun theory, but are you aware of guests in cheap hostels being killed for their belongings? In my experience, those super-cheap places are mostly rented by backpackers with almost nothing on them rather than by rich cheapskates carrying lots of expensive gear. Anyway, Siem Reap in general seems like a pretty safe town. -Roger

  6. Leif aka The Runaway Guide says:

    The Cleopatra hostel in Cairo is also one dollar a night.

    1. admin says:

      Thanks Leif. I’d add information about the Cleopatra Hostel in Cairo if I could find it anywhere. Do you have a link? All I’m finding is a low-rated 3-star hotel with that name, with no official site. -Roger

  7. Dan says:

    You can actually book the $1 dorm rooms by emailing the hostel.

  8. David says:

    Wow, a “Holiday in Cambodia” somehow doesn’t sound as bad as it used to back when that brilliant song was made.

  9. Pingback: Finding 1-star hotel rooms – Tips and challenges « Price of Travel – Make a budget at a glance
  10. Jools Stone says:

    Blimey, $1 quite a find by anyone’s standards! A nicely considered piece that doesn’t brush aside the downsides of this super cheap hostel and even offers a next best option. And how many backpackers will pass up the chance to be within walking distance of Pub Street?! Walls are over rated anyway. Great stuff!
    (Thanks for responding to my forum post about those pesky comments btw :-))