Arriving into Kuala Lumpur wasn’t my finest hour. My plane was delayed, it took hours to get through customs, I turned down an offer of splitting a grab taxi because ‘I like public transport’ – cut to an hour later, where I’m standing outside a shut Monorail office, in the dark in a city where I’d never been before, with no cash and a phone without battery.
Because of all of these events, I arrived at Paper Plane Hostel rather frazzled, but having made it. Luckily, I’d chose the right hostel to make me feel right at home. The staff warmly welcomed me to the hostel and after showing me up to my room – I’ve never been so glad to have a private room and double bed all to myself! – left me to sleep.
And what a fantastic sleep it was. The mattress was without a doubt the best one I’ve slept on in 13 months travelling (I know I’ve slept in a tent or car for at 8 of those months, but it was still amazing), and I had four fluffy pillows all to myself.
Most private hostel rooms supply you with a bed, a power socket and maybe a table if you’re lucky. Paper Plane doesn’t stop there. In my room were hooks to hang my towels and clothes, coat hangers, a kettle, mugs, teabags and coffee sachets, two bottles of water, a powerful bedside light, a mirror and a jazzy potted plant. There was also super cold air con – which is an absolute necessity in muggy Kuala Lumpur. I had two white towels and two pairs of slippers (ok, I did gather that this room was probably catered for two people rather than one tragically single gal. I’m sure one day I’ll have someone to share my bottles of water and pairs of slippers with. But for now I’m going to enjoy a whole litre of complimentary water and a choice of slippers. Single life has its perks yaknow). There was also a little sign with the wifi password, which I found very useful – how annoying is it when hostels have a password you constantly have to check?
Speaking of the wifi, it was so good! I’ve learnt to not expect much from hostel wifi; generally, I’ll consider it pretty good if I can at least check my emails and research a few things. But Paper Plane’s was fast and didn’t drop – it was good enough for me to actually do work on! Despite this, there’s signs all over the hostel reminding guests to put down their phones and talk to each other.
There’s a little kitchen with a microwave, a drinking water dispenser and some cutlery and crockery. I love hostel kitchens in Australia, which are fully kitted out with everything you need, but for an Asian hostel, just having the microwave is pretty impressive. Anyway, there’s so much cheap, tasty food in Kuala Lumpur that I doubt a full kitchen would have been used much. The bathrooms are communal with hot, relatively powerful showers and full length mirrors. They are cleaned a few times a day and were always completely spotless during my stay. There’s even toiletries, including their own-brand shampoo/shower gel and toothpaste, for the guests to use as they please. It’s fantastic if you’ve just stepped off a plane with hand luggage only (ie. me) and have no liquids!
So you’ve got friendly staff, great facilities and strong wifi. But what really makes Paper Plane Hostel stand out for me is the character behind it. It was decorated by Bangkok artists, and the entire hostel is adorned in funky wall art. This gives the place so much personality and makes you feel like you’ve really found some unique accommodation in Kuala Lumpur.
The hostel is in a fantastic location, close to a monorail stop (it’s easy to get to from the airport if you get there before the monorail closes!), and within walking distance to the Petronas Towers, the National Museum, the National Mosque, Chinatown, Central Market and the Sri Mariamman Temple, among other attractions. It’s tucked away a bit, which means it’s quiet and peaceful at night – but as a solo female traveller, I didn’t feel unsafe walking around at all.
Were there any drawbacks to the Paper Plane Hostel? You know I’ll always be 100% honest with you guys, and I’m still yet to find a completely perfect hostel, but Paper Plane comes pretty close. My room didn’t have a window, which I know can’t be helped due to the nature of the building; but as I normally wake up from natural light, I did find it very hard to get out of bed in the morning! I noticed that another queen room did have a window and I’m sure some of the dorms do.
Also, my room was next to the bathrooms and because it’s such an old building I could hear people coming and going a lot. This didn’t bother me at all – I always sleep with earplugs in and I think most people who are bothered by sound do as well, but it’s worth noting that they might be needed. The staff try to ensure that people are quiet by having signs up about being light-footed on the stairs as the building is so old. And I think the age of the building gives it its character, so these drawbacks were more than made up for the unique space.
Other than people walking past, the hostel is quiet at night; there’s no loud music and it’s not in your face at all. The hostel was perfect for a traveller like me; someone who’s keen to chill and get to know other backpackers over a couple of beers, but if you’re after a crazy party hostel, Paper Plane is not that.
They’re very respectful of all guests and encourage people to use the dorms (and their very comfy mattresses!) to sleep in, to hang around in the upstairs courtyard in the evening and to go out if they want to drink after 11pm. For me, that’s the perfect mix; people who want to party can head up to the courtyard to pre drink and then venture out, and grandmas like me can potter off to bed at a sensible hour and get a full eight hours sleep.
So there you have it, Paper Plane Hostel; a truly unique hostel in Kuala Lumpur. I’d recommend the place to any travellers exploring Malaysia, especially long term travellers who are seeking a bit of luxury on a budget, couples (splitting the queen room costs is nearly the same as two beds in a dorm!) and travellers age 25+.
The staff were incredibly helpful with recommendations of things to see and do in Malaysia’s capital, but if you want to do some planning before your visit, check out this guide to spending 48 hours in Kuala Lumpur!
Thanks for everything Paper Plane Hostel and hopefully I’ll see you again some day!
For more information about Paper Plane Hostel and to book, check out their website.
Paper Plane Hostel very kindly offered me three nights’ accommodation in exchange for this review. However, I’d never lie to ya, and all opinions are my own.