Finding cheap accommodation in Singapore is difficult, more so if you are a Malaysian with the unfavourable exchange rate. The last time me and my girlfriend went for a visit (Jan 2010), we ended up staying in the red light district of Geylang. However for our most recent visit (July 2010), even the hotels in Geylang proved too expensive for our budget.
The only alternative really is to look for a backpacker hostel. We found one such hostel, the punnily named, A Beary Good Hostel located in Chinatown. I was a bit hesitant though having never stayed in such places before. They also do not have any private rooms, meaning we have to sleep on bunk beds in a dorm full of strangers.
But still, we took the plunge after reading nothing but glowing reviews of it from TripAdvisor. The relatively cheap price of $20 per night made things easier as well. Booking is done online through their website by placing a 10% deposit. They accidentally charged me double that amount though but did apologised profusely for the error. To make up for it, they threw in a couple of free drinks for us upon arrival.
The hostel is located right smack in the middle of Chinatown. Just alight at the MRT Chinatown station and head towards Exit A to Pagoda Street. At the exit, look up towards the row of shophouses on your left and you will see this sign...
We got ourselves a double decker bed near the window as per our request prior to booking. The entire room has 5 double decker beds in total and is very clean but slightly cramped due to limited space. Each occupant get their own locker but we being such amateurish backpackers did not bring our own lock, so we ended up purchasing 1 from the counter for $4. Rookie mistake.
The blanket provided was quite thin but luckily the air conditioning wasn't very cold at night. During our stay, all beds were occupied, mostly by mat sallehs but we did meet a young couple from Hong Kong who traveled to Singapore together with the guy's mum.
The lounge area is a cosy area with some books, DVDs, a PS3 and a Wii. However, the most popular devices by far were the 3 netbooks with Internet access, although typing on the tiny keyboard was pure torture. WiFi is also available FOC as well.
Glad to report that the toilets & shower facilities were all clean too. Yeah, simple things like clean toilets impressed the heck out of us Malaysians.
Breakfast is included as well, consisting of unlimited slices of plain bread & hot coffee or tea. For Malaysian travelers who insist on having some local fare in the morning, there is a huge bag of cereal clearly bought from a Tesco somewhere in Johor.
All in all, our 2 night stay at the hostel was very pleasant & comfortable. On top of that, you get to meet travelers from all over the world, plus the staff are incredibly friendly & helpful too. This is definitely a place I would recommend for those seeking a place to stay in Singapore on a shoestring budget. Heck, even if you aren't on a tight budget, you can still check this place out for the experience. Save those extra $$$ for the casinos ;)