Though not much to look at from the outside (just a steel gated door leading up some stairs) the Backpackers Travellers Inn is THE place to be for the budget traveller. Located in the heart of Chinatown, near the markets of Petaling St, the BTI claims to be the first backpacker hostel in KL and provides all the usual hostel amenities, including tourist information and organised tours to the local Batu Caves, etc. These are supplemented by the wide range of local facilities, including banks, shops and the bizarrely named Despotic Salon. There's no curfew, and the rooftop bar (four or five storeys up) provides an excellent spot to meet fellow travellers and have a cool beer (this is all they sell) while looking out over Kuala Lumpur. A very welcoming and lively venue.
60b, 2nd floor, Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur
If you've ever been stuck on the roof of a Cambodian boat with no sunscreen or hat, inhaling toxic exhaust fumes, and enduring this for over six hours, it's advisable to check into a hotel with air conditioning. A word of warning though: don't do what I did and check into the Walkabout Hotel.
Though it's close to a host of popular nightspots and has good amenities, the predatory working girls in the downstairs bar will not leave you alone. Unless you enjoy this sort of harassment, it's best to avoid the bar at all costs.
Corner of Streets 51 and 174
The Rainbow Reading Room is one of the finest second hand travellers' bookshops in Central America, with a healthy selection of quality titles, compared with the Danielle Steele-heavy shelves of some competitors.
The racks are helpfully sorted into the standard categories rather than having the books placed at random, and the selections include a classics shelf and a gay/lesbian section as well.
All books are also databased, enabling you to search by author or title, and the staff (who speak both Spanish and English) are happy to help. In the back of the building is a courtyard cafe/coffeeshop, which provides a shady area for a cool drink in the middle of the day, along with an internet cafe. Every book you buy gives you free minutes on the internet.
The cafe serves food which is reasonably priced and very tasty, though the Thai Green curry had a suspiciously dark hue, as though it had been doused with food dye. Aside from that the place is thoroughly recommended.
Quite possibly the best Indian cooking outside of India, with an excellent tandoori chicken on offer. During the day you can feast on a large platter of different dishes - dhal, curried potatoes, rice, chicken and several chutneys and dips - while at night there is a more robust choice of such north Indian delights as masala dosai. The food is always of a very high standard, the service friendly and efficient, and the lassi possibly the best I have ever tasted. An excellent dining experience.
Chulia Street, Little India
Frequented by locals and tourists alike, the Angkor What? Bar in the heart of Siem Reap is both lively and welcoming. There are plenty of choices of beers and other beverages, and 5 cents of every dollar spent goes to the local children's hospital.
The walls are covered in magic marker, the drunken scrawls of the thousands of backpackers who have passed through, with messages ranging from the pretentious (song lyrics are prevalent) to the genuinely heartwarming, to the downright bizarre. Though space is now limited to add your own words, I seem to recall the ceiling above the (free) pool table having room left.
A fun place to meet fellow travellers and share stories and drinks with the always friendly bar staff. Recommended.
One block north of the old market
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