Are mixed dorms safe/Ok for a single female traveller (Malaysia/Thailand).
I'm trying to work out of this is an area I should splurge (private room) or got for the cheapest available (mixed dorms)? Or try both and see what works.....
Anyone ever had things stolen, any other problems?
Cheers for any tips!
I am a guy so I will give you my opinion but you may want to seek a female one.
The dorms are safe for the most part. Everyone staying there is there for the same reason, but it does not mean there arent a few bad eggs.. The most important thing is not to take anything of value with you. Buy a cheap watch in a market, leave the laptop at home and most importantly dont let anyone see where you hide your money... if you are really concerned putting things of value in your pillow case will be good if there is no safe.. Things like some money (never put all your money in one place) Ipod, and passport.. That should help..
I go backpacking every winter and I've stayed in loads of hostels and never had anything stolen from a dorm. I've had food stolen from a kitchen but never from a dorm. I'm pretty sensible though. I met a dude once that had got drunk and fallen asleep with his money on his bed and when he woke up it was gone, so obviously be sensible. But if you're worried a lot of hostels have lockers so you could check beforehand and only stay at hostels with lockers. But like boreal2673 says, most people staying in hostels are there for the same reason as you so you can generally trust most people.
Overall though, I would definitely recommend staying in hostels cos you meet loads of cool people. Some hostels are more sociable than others though, so do a bit of research before you decide where to stay.
I personally don't like staying in mixed dorms so normally make sure I am in a single- sex dorm or get my own room. I have stayed in mixed dorms and didn't have any issues but it's just easier in an all girls dorm in terms of getting changed etc, and I just feel more comfortable overall when it's all girls.
Re security - I have never had anything stolen from hostels but met quite a few people who had. I am always careful with my belongings - if I was in a room where I was unsure I would sleep with my wallet, passport etc in my sleeping bag or under my pillow.
Well I can't say about SE Asia specifically, but as far as physical safety I haven't had any problems in a mixed dorm. As far as possessions go I don't think it really matters if it's a mixed dorm or a single-sex dorm you just need to be careful. I'd be sure to bring a good lock with you as for many lockers you will need one of your own. Like Emmett70 mentioned, I prefer to book hostels that have lockers. On the whole you don't have to be too worried about clothing and the like, but never say never
Prices for single rooms in many Thai cities are cheap enough to pass on hostels. Not sure about Malaysia, have not been there for many years. One product that you might want to consider is pacsafe. It can give you some peace of mind for a reasonable price.
Good luck with your trip.
[ Edit: Edited on 19-Jan-2009, at 11:12 by vegasmike6 ]
I agree with Mike. Thailand is so cheap that hotels are far more common than hostels for backpackers. While I'm a really cheap traveler and have stayed in countless hostel dorms all over the world, I don't think I have once in 4 trips stayed in a hostel in Thailand. I have a number of times in Malaysia, where I found them quite safe, though I am a male.
I've also never had anything stolen in a hostel anywhere in the world, however, if someone was to go through my stuff all they would find is dirty laundry. The only thing I carry of value is my camera which is always with me, and important documents and money are always on me in my money pouch. I also sleep with camera and money on me which I would recommend.