I’m currently flashpacking in SouthEast Asia, hashtagging my way around Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
Flashpacking. There’s no one agreed definition but a good summation: backpacking but fancier. Flashpackers tend to be in their twenties or thirties, quite attached to their gadgets, willing to slum it but also liking their their little touch of luxe every now and then.
I view flashpacking as mixing high and low end experiences to create a more engaging, authentic travel experience. You might stay in a super cheap, fun hostel one night and party with an international crowd; then you might splash out and spend the next three days at a yoga retreat with an infinity pool.
That’s flashpacking at its finest. It’s backpacking for grown ups.
A lot of places are tapping into the flashpacking market by providing more upmarket versions of hostels with extra touches and often co-working spaces. I visited Malaysia and Bali earlier this year also and came across some great places to stay.
Here are the two best flashpacker pads I’ve encountered so far! Just to note, there is a hostel in Siem Reap Cambodia named Funky Flashpacker which is a straight up, bare bones, backpacker party hostel. Rather ironically.
The Onion Collective, Ubud Bali
Oh I could live here so easily. Above is the Love Shack, the beautiful two story Balinese cottage I stayed in for a mere $18 a night.
The Onion Collective is that wonderful thing; a genuinely friendly, welcoming place to stay that has great accommodation, an excellent food, great bar, cool events and- unfortunately only since I left- a gorgeous pool.
It’s the perfect flashpacker pad; private bungalows if you can splash out, shared dorms if you can’t and a wonderful co-working space, made all the more attractive by super strength, geek speed wifi.
The owner Mark has created a truly special place. I couldn’t recommend this place highly enough! Look for it on airbnb.
The Common Room Project, Saigon Vietnam
The Common Room Project is for cool seekers. Outside of the main tourist areas, it’s less of a hostel and more a big old house with a beautiful living room, kitchen and loft space serving as communal areas. There is also a rooftop bar, but this was closed for renovations when I visited in October.
It’s impeccably styled, with tasteful everything EVERYWHERE! The dorm beds are custom built, comfy with great duvets, the bathrooms are proper hotel style with rain showers. My favourite feature? The huge polished wood slab of a dining table where people share brekkie in the morning and work in the evening.
There’s a good mix here of independent travellers, thirty something travellers and arty locals. The staff are cool, well informed and extremely helpful. Less of a tribe than at the Onion but still a friendly, generally interesting bunch.
This feels like a home rather than a hostel or hotel. A very hipster home, granted but still!
The below photos were snapped in a hurry as I was leaving so though the quality may not be the highest, I hope their essence comes across!