This post is part of a series about hostels in India. As a budget traveller, hostels are my favourite mode of accommodation when I’m travelling. The facilities are perfect for backpackers and the opportunities to make new friends are endless. However, guesthouses are still the most popular mode of accommodation in India and the few hostels that exist are often overlooked. I want to highlight some hostels in India that I’ve stayed at and think are amazing! Today’s choice- Happy Camper in Kochi!
Have you ever stayed at a hostel that you didn’t want to leave? A place that you could see yourself living in for the foreseeable future, even if that did mean sharing a room again? It’s not often that you come across places like this, but I did on my trip to India.
Hostels have a reputation for being crowded, dirty and uncomfortable. However, at Happy Camper hostel in the small Keralan port city of Kochi, the opposite is true. I loved staying here so much that I stayed an extra 2 days, missing a trip to the tea fields of Munnar to relax and enjoy the laidback tropical vibes of Kochi in a homely, comfortable environment. Here’s why I loved this hostel so much.
With its bright and colourful interior, airy garden patio and homely vibes, the chilled out atmosphere is what makes most people stay at Happy Camper for much longer than they had planned.
The staff at Happy Camper are what really makes this hostel shine. Whether they are recommending the best places to see and eat around the city or planning a biryani night for all the hostel guests, these guys consistently go out their way to make their guests comfortable. I almost shed a wee tear in the tuk-tuk as I bid farewell to them!
The rooms at Happy Camper are thoughtfully decorated with all the amenities that travellers need. One of the best things about staying at hostels (as opposed to guesthouses) in India is that the mattresses are usually extra soft and the same can be said for those at Happy Camper. (If you’ve backpacked around India staying in guesthouses before, you’ll know all about those rock solid mattresses.)
The rooms also have large lockers so that even the most “well-prepared” backpacker can store all their stuff away and sleep at night with peace of mind. Each bed is like its own pod with an individual reading light and plug socket. Since Kochi is a hot, humid place, air con is provided and I can assure you that you’ll want to take advantage!
Happy Camper prides itself on being a “boutique backpacker’s hostel” and this is reflected in the amount of facilities on offer. The showers were hot and toasty, towels and bed linen were provided free of charge and free drinking water (along with refillable bottles) was also available. Little finishing touches like this make all the difference to tired travellers, and Happy Camper clearly understands exactly what their guests need and want.
If you’re running short on books, or want to swap out your last paperback, you can also find a mini library full of donated books. Got suncream that you don’t need any more, or ran out of deodorant? Happy Camper also offers a place for travellers to donate their unwanted toiletries for other guests to help themselves to. I love the sharing economy and it’s always great to see establishments getting on the back of it!
While you’re there, take advantage of the great food at the onsite restaurant, Little Kochi Cafe. They serve a menu of light bites, meals and drinks. I particularly enjoyed starting each of my days with one of their home-brewed Keralan coffees every morning.
Happy Camper is located in the heart of Fort Cochin, close to all the tourist attractions. From here, you’re just a short walk away from the Chinese fishing nets and the Kochi beachfront. Despite being so close to all the action, Happy Camper is set in a (reasonably) quiet residential area (this is still India afterall) so you don’t need to worry (too much) about getting woken up in the middle of the night.
Value for Money
Like I mentioned before, Happy Camper is more of a boutique hostel than your typical barebones backpacker place. However, at 550 rupees a night you get a great deal for your money. This price includes breakfast every day and guests can choose between a classic South Indian breakfast or good old-fashioned eggs and toast.
Unlike the rest of the world, staying in hostels isn’t always the cheapest option in India. However, for high-class facilities, a buzzing atmosphere and the opportunity to meet other like-minded travellers, it’s definitely worth the extra little splurge.
If you’re going to be in Kochi, I would wholeheartedly recommend staying at Happy Camper. For me, it’s not often that I find places where I feel so at home and I can’t wait to return. I hope that you’ll love it just as much as I did.
Have you ever stayed at a hostel in India? I would love to hear more about it so I can add it to my list. Leave me a comment and let me know!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Happy Camper but this review is an honest account of my stay. As you can tell, I had an amazing time here and, as always, all opinons are my own.