It is very difficult to know exactly where to start when it comes to talking about my stay at what has been dubbed the “worst hostel” in the Far East.
I knew that this would not be easy and that this is simply a personal opinion, but I can quite honestly say that I have suffered the worst nights “sleep” in my 29 years of life, how I have come to this fairly bold statement I shall discuss below in detail..
I arrived at The Overstay after a lengthy taxi journey, it took me 4 drivers to pull up and show the address to before I managed to even get into a car, each of the drivers convincingly telling me that they had not heard of the area, this was slightly confusing as I was under the impression the hostel was slap bang in the middle of Khoa san road, which is probably the most famous party strip in Thailand.
It slowly dawned on me they had indeed heard of it but simply refused to go anywhere near it.
There are many reviews online that The Overstay is essentially a crack den that masquerades itself as a hostel and approaching the 5 story building that formerly operated as a brothel, it was clear that no effort had been made to the exterior to entice anyone through the doors. This was a fairly good indication of what to expect inside..
I walked into the smoky bar area / reception and a chap called Marco who it turns out is a fairly long term resident of The Overstay introduced himself looking slightly worse for wear.
“Hey dude! Sit down” he said pulling up a chair , “Hi, I’m jon, erm.. I,m here to check in?” I nervously replied.
We exchanged some small talk before another girl called Amelia walked behind the bar and looked surprised at my arrival, despite booking my “room” well in advance.
“Hello, I’m Jon, I have a room tonight ?” , she stared at me blankly , “where did you book?”, still looking like I was from another planet. , “erm, your website?”
I showed her the confirmation which didn’t seem to make much difference before she attempted to verify my booking using her “online system”.
The Internet connection was “playing up” so after sitting there for 10 minutes awqardly watching her refresh her screen, we gave up and she just booked me a room there and then to my relief.
Each of the rooms at The Overstay are named, whilst I was secretly hoping each room would be themed around a famous celebrity this would not be the case, I was going to be staying in “Josh” , I have a feeling that these names are in-fact a sign of respect to the travellers that have all passed away in the rooms, this would be a much more logical explanation for the somewhat random alternative to simply using numbers.
I walked up the first flight of stairs to “Josh” before Amelia suggested we go for a tour to which I agreed. There are two shared bathrooms / toilets on my floor which service the needs of around 10 people. The showers are as you can see, pretty grim . There is no hot water and the toilets are really just open holes.
We didn’t spend much time “touring” the shitters so made our way up to the next floor which was ambitiously called, “the gym area” and “library” which basically consists of 1 gym machine and just a loads of old books which have clearly never been read but are preferably used to make roaches for the spliffs which are being rolled up freely and openly within the building.
The smell of incense as you walked through the overstay was overpowering, almost to the point that it was making my eyes water, clearly this was being used to mask the smell of weed and unflushed shit which had been festering in the heat all day.
It was on this floor that I was able to see the dorm rooms which are the cheapest available accommodation in Thailand. I am not one to be shocked, but it was one of the most disgusting rooms I have ever had the misfortune to see, how anyone could spent a night in there deserves a medal and some super strength penicillin.
The next floor was the “office” which also doubled up as a cattery. Cats roam freely around The Overstay and whilst I am a big animal lover, these particular cats looked more like rats, many of them were underweight and suffering from mange.
Bowls of rice were left on the floor for them, each of them spilling over the top leaving rice sticking to your feet as you walked by.
The pies de resistance and showstopper of the tour was the roof terrace and fish pond which was covered top to bottom in rusted iron sheeting to presumably prevent anyone from giving up on life and committing suicide. This was probably the most sensible decision The Overstay have made to date.
The fish pond was green and full of fags butts with a few fish swimming, waiting to die from lung cancer and a rotting dead fish which had been plucked out and left on the floor to crisp up in the 30c heat rather than having a dignified burial.
The tour at this point ended and I made an excuse to go back to my room so I could compose myself.
I sat on the bed for a few seconds trying to gather my thoughts and try and wake myself from this nightmare when my zen like state was rudely interrupted by my neighbour who was hocking up phlegm with such force I’m surprised his brain didn’t shoot straight out his mouth. This continued for a full 15 minutes until his nostrils were sufficiently clear leaving me to mask the sounds of my gagging with my t-shirt.
As soon as his inappropriate bogey cleansing stopped I put my head down on my coffin / bed which was rock hard and clearly had never seen a washing machine before , the bed was made up of a small sheet which was a wrapped over a hard springy mattress, a brown blanket which doubled up as sandpaper and a dirty bean bag type “pillow” which had some suspicious red blood stains underneath.
The numerous empty packets of rizlas around the room was interesting as this seems to be the material that was used for the walls separating the rooms. I could hear a mouse fart two doors down.
At this point I looked up and saw that my bag seemed to be moving .. I wasn’t sure if this was an incense stick related hallucination until I saw a rather long scraggy tail poking out the top.
The door had been left slightly ad jar and one of the feral kittens had its head stuck in my bag with its crusty back passage proudly on display trying to have a cheeky game on my iPad from the looks of it.
An hour passed and I headed down to the bar area which was now much busier with travellers excitedly discussing the previous nights activities. I tried in vain to say hello but was ignored and received some evil glares, like I was intruding in their “house”.
This was the most disappointing thing so far for me as many hostels are essentially shit holes but the fact that you get to meet some like minded travellers “balances it out” , aside from Amelia and Mario the rest of the people who I tried to engage with were not having any of it to this point.
Eventually I found myself in a conversation with two Dutch blokes, Erdem and Mikey who amazingly had been “recommended” to stay here from a previous trip and we shared some banter, a game of pool and numerous beers to take the edge off my anxiety as a result of my surroundings.
The evening was now approaching and Erdem and Mikey had now quietly approached the subject of drugs / weed, dropping in some less than subtle investigative “research” clearly pushing to find out where they can get some without asking me directly.
As they both came from Holland where the drugs laws regarding cannabis are non existent , they seemed well aware of the potential consequences of asking “the wrong person” in Thailand where drugs of any grade have serious punishments.
I explained that I don’t smoke weed, mainly because it turns me into a courgette, but as we were on the roof terrace another traveller perked up overhearing the conversation, spotting an opportunity to make some cash, he shouted “500 baht” , we all looked at each other a little confused , but he continued “you want weed right?”” I can get you some” he persisted ..
Erdems face lit up and before having any time to consider the offer reached for his pocket and handed over a wad of notes clearly relived that he would now get a Jamaican flavoured fix.
It wasn’t long before the “dealer” returned clutching onto a pretty impressive bag of “Thai green” as I have been expertly informed, taking a piece for himself for brokering the deal before handing over the goods.
I was at this point a little in awe of the situation I had found myself in, only one month ago I was at home typing away on the computer working away frantically for my new business and now I was on the roof of the biggest shit hole in Thailand , surrounded by a monk, a drug dealing school teacher, feeding feral cats and watching the stars fly by across the nights sky of Bangkok.
There was a very relaxed “vibe” in the air and I almost forgot for a second that I was in the birthplace of bacteria when this was abruptly interrupted by a panicky staff member who ran onto the terrace to explain that there had “been a robbery” and the “victim” was calling the police and that it was advisable that we rather swiftly put out the spliff that was making the rounds, concealing any traces of our illegal activity.
I think his exact words were “fucking fuck that fuck away , fuck quick fuck you fucks”
Unfortunately, due to everyone’s somewhat inebriated and fuzzy state there was a distinct lack of urgency and there was more concern as to whether any of their property had been nicked than a potential firing squad execution.
10 minutes passed and we were given the all clear that the girl was not going to pursue the matter further, partly due to the fact that she was also stoned off her face and wisely decided against a full interrogation with the Thai police.
I was at this point absolutely knackered, it had been my longest day to date and I was ready to hit the sack and have a nice nights sleep in preparation for my 24 hour journey the following day so said my goodbyes and headed over to my “cell” ..
By this point it was only around 11pm so many of the residents of the overstay were still getting ready to start their evenings activities whilst I was now preparing for bed, these two factors would play a fairly considerable role in my inability to sleep for a further 6 hours…
I have documented the following timeline below to give you an idea of what of have had to endure;
1130pm – Phlegm sniffing episode next door has restarted.
1140pm Move my bed to block the doorway as unable to lock the door from inside
11.45pm Kitten is meowing loudly outside my door
11.50pm – Electricity has now turned off so no fan
12am – Fan restored. Bed seems to be getting harder as the night progresses and started to sneeze because of the dirty pillow.
12.15- Cats fighting outside my door, staff member comes and breaks it up after 10 minutes of loud laughing watching the fight. Ginger one won.
12.30pm – Lots of commotion outside my door as the lady who’s things got stolen has now began to get upset again
1.15am – Saxophone being played loudly from the bar downstairs
1.30am – Go to bar to buy a water, nirvana is being played full blast.
2.15pm – Just drifting off when awoken buy my increasingly annoying next door neighbour kicking his jammed door in
2.30am – Group coming back from nightout making noise.
3am – Arguing coming from the hallway
3.30am – Suspicious wanking sounds coming from next door
4am – 6am – Managed to sleep
I gave up at this point, ironically the sound of next doors tugging session sent me off into a trance like slumber and before I knew it the lights were shining brightly and the sounds of movement for breakfast were now well underway.
I avoided breakfast as I heard you just take a spoon and have a few scoops of the cats leftover rice, although there was a full bowl of shreddies on the “office” table which was now fermenting but I assume this was merely a marketing ploy..
All in all, it was shit, Infact, I think describing it as shit is offensive to actual shit so let’s just call it “avoidable” , strangely I am glad I did it but how on earth anyone can spend longer than 24 hours there is worrying and I have no plans to return to The Overstay for the foreseeable future , unless of course having a serious disease suddenly becomes fashionable.