Finding a stay in Varanasi that fits our budget wasn’t that big of a deal, the main issue we faced was the quality of accommodation available for our budget. After a long search and refusing many hostels either because of their low level of cleanliness or their lack of character, we came along International Travelers Hostel (ITH). The hostel is located very close to the train station, away from all the hustle and bustle of the crazy streets of Varanasi.
At the beginning, we wanted to stay in the old city where everything happens, but after experiencing it, we’re glad we stayed at ITH. You can read about my experience with the streets of Varanasi’s old town here.
I’m a traveler who love’s his own privacy, especially when its time to call it a night, so I wanted to book the double room. It looked quite artsy and had a big window overlooking the hostel’s front yard which has a swing a couple of lounging areas, which is a rarity in an Indian city like Varanasi. Unfortunately, the room was booked out for the period of our stay so we ended up staying in the Superior Dorm which comes with an AC and privacy curtains, allowing us to sleep in peace.
As a traveler, a perfect stay isn’t always about the cleanliness and comfort, but about the experience and memories, ones you carry back with you after your stay. At ITH we were welcomed with cold water and warm smiles. After check-in we were offered a massage, the guy who gave us the massages is one of the hostel cleaners who probably just gives quick massages as a way to increase his income, he just asked for 50 rupees ($0.75) – I wouldn’t mind getting one every day!
There were some cool perks that we benefited from during our stay at ITH, mainly thanks to Samar, a really cool dude that used to live in Goa but moved to Varanasi. He would always book us tuk-tuks off his phone that would cost us a fraction of the price of taking one ourselves off the street. Samar also leads a guided trip around the ghats 3 times a week, which sounded like great fun, but we weren’t there for long to go on it.
Some of the other cool things we got access to do during our stay there were the kitchen, the TV and DVDs (mostly Indian movies, a good way to get cultured while you’re there), the dartboard, and the Jenga – which kept us entertained during the hot hours of the day.
We were allowed to cook anything we wanted in the kitchen as long as it was vegetarian – we did, however, go for the easier option of ordering food from there. They do have a full menu to order from. I’d recommend the Poha for breakfast, it’s a must try!
What we loved most about ITH is its vibe that encourages travelers to continue traveling and share their experiences. They have 100 ‘passports’ that travelers can share and get a free night at the hostel. The best thing is that the passports can be used physically or virtually, so if you guys want to claim your free night either screenshot or print the below picture and show it to them at check-in.
To book your stay at ITH click here.
Tip: During our stay, we got to meet Ashish, the hostel owner. If you do happen to be there while he’s around, don’t miss having a conversation with him. He’s absolutely a great human being that is worth spending some quality time with.
Let me know if you think this review was useful in a comment below. And most of all, enjoy traveling because there ain’t nothing more worth the while.