At 30 pence a night, is this the world’s cheapest hotel?
Is this the world’s cheapest hotel? Workers and tourists in Bangladesh can stay in this floating hotel for as little as 30p a night.
But as a night’s stay at the hotel costs less than a bar of chocolate, the facilities aren’t up to much.
Guests at the Faridpur Hotel in Dhaka do have access to free water and toilets during their stay – but they have to sleep alongside hundreds of other guests with only a small locker to keep their possessions in.
Astonishingly, the boats hotels are so popular they have been bringing in a roaring trade for more than 60 years.
On the bank of Buriganga in the capital city of the tiny country,the hotel is made up of five separate floating boats.
But unlike the eloquent, comfy hotels western travellers are used to, with exquisite furnishing and striking views, these hotels are anything but fancy.
There are no TV sets, no living-dining area, no comfy, queen size mattresses and no flowers to decorate the room. Yet at any given point in a day, one can find scores of guests packed inside the floating hotels.
“We have anywhere around 40 guests at a time in our hotel and they stay for as long as three months,” says Muhammad Mustafa Miyan, the owner of Faridpur Hotel.
There are 48 rooms in the hotel consisting private cabins and beds.
The lowest price of Taka 30 or 30 pence applies for a bed in a common room perched on a large launch whereas the highest take is Taka 80-120, for which a guest guests a private cabin.
However, these hotels are not meant for families.
Traders from different districts and towns who have business in and around the busy Sadarghat area mainly stay in these hotels. And there are many traders who are staying in these hotels for ages.
These cheap floating hotels popped up for the first time in Buriganga in the fifties, mainly for Hindu traders who came to Dhaka for trading by river. Over the time the number of hotels increased. But after the independence, their number came down to just five.
Siraj Mohammad, 55, is a fruit seller who has spent more than 40 years in these floating hotels—toggling between his home in Shariatpur and Dhaka.
Over the years, Mohammad has learnt to make himself feel comfortable with the shabby hotels.
He says: “I came to Dhaka before independence. At that time there were at least fifty floating hotels in Buriganga and it was convenient and cheap. For me it was the best option to live in Dhaka. So I stayed back.”
Like him, there are at least 15 other traders who live in these floating hotels for five to 20 years.
Miyah, 46, who has been running the hotel for last 26 years says the popularity of the hotel is mainly because they are cheap.
“It is cheap so people who come from small towns and villages for their work and business stay here. For a nominal price, they get purified water, clean toilets, separate beds. And we also provide our customers with small lockers to keep their valuable things,” says Miyah. “But food is not provided,” he added.
But while the boats are always full of customers, the father-of-three is not says he is not happy with the tariff rate.