I arrived in Penang after about a 4 or 5 hour train ride from KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. I paid about 70 MYR for the train, which is about 20 MYR more expensive than the bus but it was totally worth it.
It was spacious, you can walk around if you’re feeling tired of sitting down, the scenery was nice, there was no traffic, and most of all a toilet so big it could fit in 5 people at once. It was comfortable and convenient.
When I arrived in Penang, I took the boat to cross to Penang Island, then took a Grab Car to my hostel, Tido Hostel in Georgetown.
There are quite a few things I loved about staying in Tido Hostel. Here’s a quick list to help you decide if the place is for you, too:
PROS OF STAYING IN TIDO HOSTEL
QUIET AND PEACEFUL AMBIANCE
I found out Tido means “sleep”, and it made sense. The vibe of the place is quiet and peaceful, perfect for long term travelers who seek a good night’s rest in a comfortable, clean bed. People seem to respect the fact that this isn’t a party hostel so you don’t hear people being boisterous.
If you’re up for socializing and meeting people, it’s possible to do that here but you need to initiate the talks — I guess just like anywhere, but this requires a bit more work. People who stay here seem to really enjoy the peace and quiet. I did so myself.
SQUEAKY CLEAN FACILITIES
I’m very particular with cleanliness and this hostel gets a 10/10 for that. The sheets smelled great and the whole place was clean. I think I even walked barefoot a lot and didn’t get my feet dirty!
A part contributing to this is the fact that they don’t allow shoes inside the dorms. You have to leave them outside by the doors!
BIG, SPACIOUS BATHROOMS
Holy moly! This is the best hostel bathroom I’ve ever seen in my life! They’re huge, spacious, and absolutely sparkly clean! Of course, unless someone uses it without properly cleaning their mess… But it’s so nice to step in without having to cringe and look around if it’s gonna be an OK experience. I usually have to scan a bathroom and decide if bath time will be a good experience. If not, at least I have my expectations already. They also have a hot shower and a hair dryer. If I remember correctly, there are 4 bathrooms with toilets per floor.
Yes, you can fit in your giant backpacks in one locker! It was such a relief because as much as I don’t mind losing stuff from my big backpack (I keep the must-never-lose things in a smaller bag I carry around or leave in a small locker), it would be a pain to have to redo your wardrobe in case you lost something important. Or just generally feel better than nothing can EVER get stolen.
I travel for food and meeting interesting people — locals, expats, and fellow travelers. When I was checking out the best places to eat in Penang, I realized two of them were my neighbors: Chee Meng Wantan Mee and Roti Canai Transfer Road — two amazing breakfast places. I also found out there is Nasi Lemak right next door on the right side just as you get out of the building so if you stay in Tido Hostel, 3 breakfasts are already set for you!
Right across the building is a local coffee shop called Toon Leong where I get my refreshing local iced coffees on hot days, for only 1.80 MYR. Their coffee is actually one of the better ones I’ve tried as they’re not too sweet!
Are you ready for the best part? Right down the road is the famous Nasi Kandar Line Clear, which is where Anthony Bourdain ate when he visited Penang.
Tido Hostel is also perfectly within walking distance to the night life area, where bars are left and right over at Chulia Street. So if you still fancy a drink or two to end your day, you’re not too far away (hey, that rhymed! It’s also where the night hawker stalls set up.
CONS OF STAYING IN TIDO HOSTEL
THIN, SMALL SHEETS
I found this to be the most frustrating of all since I easily get cold. The material was kind of warm enough but it was so small my feet couldn’t even be covered up. I checked and found out the blankets were square-shaped.
It was uncomfortable to wake up in the middle of the night to cold feet. I had to wear socks in the next nights.
NOT SO VERY WARM STAFF
Maybe they were having a bad week? I’m not sure but it’s not too much of a big deal for me. I understand when sometimes it gets exhausting to be talking to so many guests who come in and out. I totally get it and I won’t judge a place just like that.
Don’t get me wrong, they are helpful and when you smile at them, they smile back. I just find it lacking of enough warmth to at least welcome you in. They’re not mean or anything, just I guess I’m so used to the friendly faces in the Philippines, also given the fact that I’ve been in the tourism and hospitality industry for over 5 years.
To me, as long as I’m treated well and I am attended to when I need them, that’s enough. I can say they were good enough in that department because when I complained about my roommates and their loud and promiscuous behavior, they didn’t just let it slide!
So, this isn’t entirely a con, but just a heads up for you guys if you plan to stay at Tido Hostel.