I love having my own place. I spend so much time in hotel rooms, that I’m starting to miss simple things, such as having a kitchen, a fridge or even just a bit more privacy than a hotel or hostel can offer. In many places around the world, couchsurfing or Airbnb are great options for getting travellers more in touch with the locals and out of the boring, impersonal hotel rooms. Unfortunately, I discovered that in Asia, BnB’s or homestays aren’t really a thing. Locals are reluctant to let people into their homes or give up their properties for short term rentals and in turn, Asian travellers are unfamiliar with the concept and would rather stay in the safety of hotels.
When heading to the immensely expensive Singapore, where the cheapest hotel and hostel rooms start at around 50$, I discovered through some research, that there is indeed an alternative to these accommodations: PandaBed, a website and company geared towards short term rentals in Asia. Whether it’s a room you are looking for or a whole apartment, PandaBed connects travellers with locals all throughout Asia, who are able to offer their properties at affordable prices.
I had the opportunity to meet with Lester Kang over a big plate of delicous Haianese Chicken Rice. He, together with his friend James, is the owner of PandaBed and believes, visitors to a new country should have the possibility to experience a place through being a part of it. No front desk, no annoying cleaning ladies and no bellmen offering to carry your bags – just a key to an apartment and the opportunity to live like a local.
It really impressed me, when Lester explained, that all properties are hand picked and each one is visited by the staff and rated to make sure that cleanliness, the facilities, the comfort and everything else a visitor might need are in order. They get involved with these landlords, establishing a real relationship between the staff of PandaBed, the owner of a property and the travellers.
I then had the opportunity to test out one of the properties in Singapore myself, a cozy one bedroom apartment on the edge of little India, with a small kitchen and bathroom. And man did I enjoy getting up in the morning, walking to the stove and making myself some oatmeal, without having to get dressed or being worried I’d miss breakfast. I loved the freedom and although the place was small, it had everything I needed.
Anyways, PandaBed seems to be a great for short term rentals and is a good alternative to Airbnb. Check them out here!