Prince of Wales Backpacker Pub 21/10/16 – 23/10/16

So this isn’t my first time staying over at this hostel. It’s actually a pub at the ground floor of this establishment, so one might think that it would be unconducive to return to such a place to sleep and rest.

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I’m personally not one to drink or to participate in the many weekly night rotating events being held on the first level, but despite my introvert nature, I find myself a returning guest to this very alluring hostel. While its certainly not what anyone would call quiet, the sounds of the noisy crowds, the music played by the live band, and the clanking of beer mugs, all contribute to the surprisingly pleasant muffles any would hear on the upper floor, where the dorms are.

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I think this hostel stays very true to maintaining the environment of a backpacker’s haven. It does seem to attract a very western pool of guests, which makes it all the more believable for myself to think that I’m not even located in Singapore. The illusion is accentuated by the heavy usage of wooden and brick textiles on the ceilings and walls in the second floor respectively, and for this particular stay I was given the top of the bunk bed. That means I had the full view of the wooden attic-like ceiling while I tucked myself to sleep.

The hostel in general also has many posters and art framed up on the walls, to which some are simply aesthetic, several documents outdated events once to be held in the vicinity, and more that does indeed inform guests of upcoming offers and activities.

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While I am local, hence being entirely familiar with the local train system, I can see it being handy that the hostel pins up an updated map of the MRT. I’m sure any seasoned traveler could attest to the frustration of hostels or hotels providing outdated information, and for that, props to the PoW pub!

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Despite only costing $15 per night, including taxes (booked through hotels.com), the beds prove themselves to be very well maintained, and clean! I have paid more for other hostels hosting bug-infested beds and dusty rooms, but for the Princes of Wales, no such problems exist. Despite staying here on quite several occasions, the conditions remain consistent, so I can personally vouch on this point that this is no nostalgic account of experience. It does get warm in the day to stay on the second floor, however, when the air conditioning is turned off (10am-7pm) and it leaves only the several ceiling fans spread across the level to cool the room.

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And for someone like me, who perspires quite a lot, the shower on the ground floor comes to my rescue in those desperate times. While the soap dispensers do get some rough treatment, the shower heads and heater are in full working condition, as always. There are a total of 3 shower cubicles, although its rare from my perspective to observe any being occupied, hence there’s never a wait for a nice cleansing. The cubicles are quite small, and perhaps more hooks could be installed within the cubicle itself, as I find myself resorting to hanging my clothes over the door of the cubicle. It’s a nitpick, but it’s also a fearful thought should there be an underwear thief lurking around the corner.

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Which we then come to the unisex toilet just opposite the shower place. There is a male toilet just left of this one, but I tend to use the unisex toilet more because the male toilet is so tiny, you’d wonder what went through through the minds who installed the two urinals that are definitely not meant to be used at the same time. Anyways, as it serves both guests in the hostel and the pub, it’s funny whenever I head for either a shower or the sink. Pub visitors clearly think I’m out of place in the environment when I’m brushing my teeth next to them. Occasionally, it gets very strange when female visitors give me the confused stare while not realizing that the toilet caters to men as well. But ultimately for me, it’s all part of the PoW experience.

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Lockers are provided on the second floor, but unless you own your own lock, or you’re willing to pay $1 (old coins only) for every time you wish to lock/access your belongings, it’ll suffice to leave your belongings on or near the beds. So far, I have not used the lockers for the stated reasons, and despite bringing a laptop, I’ve not experience a case of theft. There seems to be a laid back atmosphere pertaining to this, as it is not uncommon for backpackers to leave their phones unattended on the shelves along the common walkway overnight, and charging. This can be attributed to the lack of allocated plug sockets for each bed space, otherwise there’s never a lack of sockets.

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Speaking of sockets, you can see in the above picture where the sockets are positioned against the wall in the common living area. There is another pair of sockets located on the opposite wall, and here comes a problem; the ceiling fan best ventilates the living corner right smack in the middle. It’s gets frustrating when I seat myself onto where you can observe the high chair is located, and to use my laptop, I have to pull the charging cable across half the room, either across the comfy sofa where other guests would take their seats on, or across the common walkway where one would trip on the wire. Beyond these meagre concerns, the living corner is atmospheric, and there’s a pleasant top down up close view of the streets of Little India from this corner. It is all the more enjoyable to view the streets from the windows at night, when both street and interior lights are lit.

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Once again, on this trip I had found myself awakening on my first morning from these comfy sofa seats. Prior to losing my consciousness, I had shut off my laptop after a late night session of video surfing before seating myself down with the intent of… just a short break. This wasn’t the first time I had ended up knocking out in the common area, and should there be subsequent visits, it won’t be the last. But I think it is a testament to how comfortable the space has allows me to feel.

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And there’s no talk of mornings without breakfast. Free breakfast is provided here, like most hostels, but here at PoW, there’s a great twist; you get to fry your own eggs! It’s one of the great selling points for me, as I seldom get the opportunity to play in a kitchen while hopping in between the local hostels. Sliced watermelons are also served, albeit in small quantities.

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Here’s some toasted bread and two eggs in preparation.

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And I’m clearly not a great cook… but hey, the fun is in the process!

So far, I’ve covered facilities pertaining to the hostel, but I’ve yet to touch much on the pub itself. Normally, I do frequent the counter to refill my water bottle (there are no water refill machines in the hostel) over the tap, but that’s about all of my interaction within the pub. It was just on a previous stay that I realized the pub served a decent selection of food (shame on me). On the day of check out for this stay, I decided to try the Sunday special BBQ offer.

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It consists of:

2 pieces of Chicken Legs
1 piece of Beef Striploin
1 piece of English Pork Sausage
1 piece of Corn Cob
Bell Peppers and Shallot Skewers

All for $15! A pretty good deal, and it wasn’t half bad at all. On the regular menu, no food items are priced above the stated price. I think it’s convincing enough for me to have at least one more meal in the pub for my next stay.

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Nonetheless the pub clearly is meant for the drinker. For that I’d leave the job of reviewing to someone who’s more up for alcohol. The Prince of Wales Backpacker Pub is located just 1-2 minutes of walking away from Rochor MRT, and the time for checking in is between 1pm-11pm.

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Prince of Wales Little India
101 Dunlop Street
Singapore 209420
Tel: 6299 0130

And lastly as I end off this entry, I’d like to attribute my numerous pleasant experiences in this establishment to the very wonderful and friendly staff to which in their absence, the Prince of Wales would not be what it was and is today. To provide an example of our lovely interactions, the hostel manager had once sat down with me to provide a listening ear regarding my life circumstances, and offered some personal help that reached well beyond his job scope. The other staff had also noted my recurring appearance in the hostel, and now acknowledge me by name (this is exclusive to this hostel, in my experience so far). Even on repetitive chores, such as refilling my water bottle, the staff are always willing and happy to help. So thanks again for making hostel hopping so much of a joy.

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