Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel: The Ultimate Indie Experience

Review of Asylum Cairns Backpackers Hostel | 149 Grafton Street
indie backpackers
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Joshua
Joshua 
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‘Backpacker’ is usually a term to describe one whom experiences wanderlust but is at the same time on a budget. As a sign on its fridge candidly proclaims, “We’re all on the same broke boat”, Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel unabashedly offers cheap accommodation. But this doesn’t mean that they compromise on the fun. On the contrary, the hostel organizes activities for its guests every other night, including its infamous Pants Down Parties every Thursday.

Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel prides itself in being the place to be if you’re outgoing and interested in making friends from all around the world. So if you’re looking to stay with a spirited community of indie, carefree globetrotters, then Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel is indeed the refuge to seek from hectic city life.

Chill out all afternoon

asylum backpackers cairns hostel: the ultimate indie experience | chill out all afternoon

If you’re new to the whole concept of an indie lifestyle, then setting foot into the hostel might be a culture shock to you. From the corrugated iron gates right to its front desk, the ground is laden with sand. On the way in, you’ll notice hammocks hanging between pillars, flower-child guests with ukuleles and guitars in hand, chilling on the couch. Some of these guests, and the staff at Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel walk around the compound barefoot – they are one with the earth. But fret not, if it’s not in you to go around barefoot, there really isn’t any pressure to do so.

A look around the premises will only serve to authenticate its description as an indie backpackers’ hostel. Décor is minimalist yet colorful, and furnishing is basic but sufficient. The hostel has paid washers and dryers available, but in the true spirit of being indie, most guests hang their clothes to dry in the backyard.

Party all night long

asylum backpackers cairns hostel: the ultimate indie experience | party all night long

When you return from a day of exploring Cairns, being 50 meters away from the compound also means you’re within earshot of its party music blasting. Every few nights, Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel holds mini parties for its guests, with free flow beer and pizza, all for under 15 AUD (approximately 12 USD). Dress-up themed parties are also held frequently, and enthusiastic guests spare no effort in putting together the cheap but perfect costume. Every Thursday, the staff organizes a Pants Down Party, where everyone attending the party gets an Asylum Backpackers singlet, and heads down to a local club after their pizza and beer.

Note: it can get pretty wild, though. It’s their tradition for attendees to stand in a row, back facing the camera, and pulling their pants down for a photo! But all parties are purely optional and if it’s not your kind of scene, it’s perfectly alright to decline their invitation.

Minimalist backpacker lodging facilities

asylum backpackers cairns hostel: the ultimate indie experience | minimalist backpacker lodging facilities
Source: Booking.com

Rooms are not split according to gender, and may be shared with strangers unless the entire room is booked. Guests may choose from a variety of room types, ranging from the cheapest 8-bed (bunk bed) dorms to double or twin-sharing rooms, all of which do not have ensuite facilities.

For security reasons, shared toilets are thus split strictly according to gender. Shower cubicles are spacious (approximately the area of a queen-sized bed) but not completely enclosed, with wooden swing doors that complete the indie feel. For toilets that are intentionally designed to look like they belong in a campsite, guests will undoubtedly be impressed by how clean they are.

Adopting a completely no-frills concept, rooms and toilets are minimalist but will suffice for those who simply wish for a cheap but enjoyable place to stay.

A spirited community

asylum backpackers cairns hostel: the ultimate indie experience | a spirited community

Aside from its many events, guests at Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel get acquainted with one another in communal cooking and dining. The hostel’s kitchen is extremely big, with multiple sinks and cooking areas. Many of its guests end up making friends, cooking and eating subsequent meals together despite being from all around the world. Alternatively, you may wish to bask in the warm Queensland sun at the hostels private pool as you meet your fellow guests doing the same.

Staff at the asylum also make every effort to memorize the names of all their current guests, so don’t be surprised when one of them bumps into you within the compound and calls you by name. The friendly atmosphere here is truly heartwarming.

But as with every community comes house rules. Here at Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel, every guest is expected to wash up immediately after using common cooking utensils so that other guests may use them. The kitchen also closes at 9 p.m., sharp, so be sure to have cooked your dinner before that! Complimentary coffee and tea are also available at the front desk, but a rule applies that anyone who wishes to drink them must do so at the common lobby areas in order to encouraging mingling among guests. Nevertheless, these rules are in place to ensure that everyone has a pleasant stay at the hostel.

One of its kind

Inherent in its indie lifestyle concept, Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel may not be the cleanest nor the most pristine place to be staying in. That said, many of its guests really enjoy their stay because of the sense of community they get despite being far away from their home, a reason why many guests end up extending their stay at Asylum Backpackers Cairns Hostel for weeks! Further, the hostel is situated just a short ten minute walk away from Cairns’ city center and esplanade, making it extremely affordable for its prime location. The experience will undoubtedly differ from that of a five-star hotel, but it’s certainly a sui generis one.

Tip: if you recommend a friend who subsequently books his/her stay there, you get 10 AUD (approximately 7 USD) off your stay!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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