Where: Jalan Sahabat, 41, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
What it costs: US$39 a double room, B&B (price in October 2013)
Click here to book a room
Sahabat means “friend” in Malay. This clean, comfortable, bijoux guesthouse (only 14 rooms) is clearly named for the street it’s on, but could just as easily have gotten its name for the extremely friendly staff.
The location, one street away from the sunset-strip bars in Changkat Bukit Bintang, is perfect if you’re likely to be up for a couple of Tigers after the sun goes down. We had magazine deadlines to battle with so were happy to find that this is a very quiet street and our room had a comfortable verandah to write from overlooking the Chinese temple at the end of the road. Security is good and just down the hill there are a couple of great local eateries that seem to be popular with Malay workers and, it seems, a bevy of local transvestites.
Restoran SK Corner is more of an Indian hawker centre and is ideal for budget-friendly roti canai (delicious Indian bread with curry sauce which will set you back less than US$2) and strong, sweet teh tarik (‘pulled tea’). Just along the road on the corner of Changkat Bukit Bintang there’s a great ‘Mongolian Lok Lok’ barbecue stall that opens in the evening and sells a wide variety of satays…including the best goat satay I’ve had this year. (And they’ll also run to the local 7-11 to get you a Tiger).
PROS: Ask for an upstairs room at the front of the building so you can take advantage of the large balcony. Breakfast is offered in the communal dining area (coffee, toast and cereal) and offers a chance to meet other travellers.
CONS: It’s very hard to get a good temperature balance with an aircon/fan combo that doesn’t seem to be variable.
TIP: On arrival at KL international airport leave the terminal and walk just a few minutes down to domestic arrivals where you can buy a cheaper taxi ticket for the 40-minute drive into the city centre (at the time of writing US$23 one way).