In the mind of many, many backpackers on a tight budget is the firm conviction that hostels are the way to go. They seem to ignore the fact that until a few years ago there were no hostels in Koh Phangan; and to ignore the fact that a cheap and basic bungalow set back from the beach costs virtually the same as a dorm bed.
If you are travelling with another person then sharing the cost of a bungalow makes a lot of sense. Having your own privacy is not an expensive luxury in Haad Rin or elsewhere on Koh Phangan.
Rather there is a hostel fad. People want to be with like-minded people and the hostel is the solution. All young, fluorescent decorated, sexually active and up for binge drinking folk need to congregate in a hostel in Haad Rin during the Full Moon Party.
This is perfect for Haad Rin shop and bar owners. All that wasted space on the second floor above their businesses can now be filled with bunk beds. Plumb in a toilet; add some lockers; put garden furniture on the street (smoking area); promise ‘free wifi in all areas’ and you have a hostel. It is a sure-fire winner of a business idea. And as such is being copied all over Haad Rin as well as Baan Tai.
Very few of the hostels in Haad Rin have their own websites. Instead they rely on companies like Agoda and Hostelworld to promote their hostel. The free and lazy digital solution to promotion is the Facebook page.
Here is a list of hostels in Haad Rin.
From this list most of the hostels have Facebook pages. What stands out with these pages is that they contain hundreds of pictures of the aforementioned young full mooners. Page after page, album after album of drunken fun with little to no pictures of beds, lockers, restaurant or other facilities. It says to me that these hostels have nothing to recommend themselves except that they sometimes host cheap booze revels. It obviously works as there is no end of selfies and group hugs to be seen on Haad Rin hostel Facebook pages.
I wonder if permission has been sought to publish these pictures. Are people tagged by name and later discriminated against by future potential employers? And finally, why do people place so much importance on free wifi when it is the cheapest facility for a hostel to provide?
The one notable exception that I have found is Mickey Hostel Facebook page. It has plenty of pictures of bunk beds.