Jail Cells & Guesthouse Suites for $7/Night at Bhagsu Villas in India

Three Weeks at Bhagsu Villas

OK, to be fair, there was nothing “villa-esque” about Bhagsu Villas. It was just like any other guesthouse in India: just with a cool name.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::::\/\/\/\/::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Bhagsu Villas
Bhagsu, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India

Total Nights: 18
Cost Per Night: 350 Rupees ($7)

Coffees Drank: 25
Waters Refilled:
55
Kg of Laundry Washed: 35

Total Cost: 5,700 Rupees ($114)

After six days living in guesthouses among the hustle, bustle and noise downtown McLeod Ganj, India, Carrie, Lauren and I retreated to Bhagsu for three weeks of yoga and relaxation. Apparently, lots of other people had the same idea.

Finding most guesthouses full, the three of us agreed to cram into one bed for a night in a teeny room reminiscent of a jail cell: bars on the windows, small, moldy, dark and noisy. The promise was that the next day a much nicer room with a balcony would be available.

Sure enough, a spacious room on the top floor opened up the next day and Lauren moved in. A neighboring suite was said to be available “in a few days.”

Our second room at Bhagsu Villas - a sweet suite next to Lauren's room with a balcony
Our second room at Bhagsu Villas – a sweet suite next to Lauren’s room with a balcony

“A Few Days” in Bhagsu Means…

Like Harry Potter sleeping under the stairs, we made it work: asking every day when the other suite would be ours. One morning, all signs pointed to “today,” but by the time we returned from yoga class the owner had rented it to someone else.

A view from the rooftop of Bhagsu Villas, taken during the May 2012 Supermoon
A view from the rooftop of Bhagsu Villas, taken during the May 2012 Supermoon

Ten days passed in our hobbit hole of a room before we finally arrived in the suite next to Lauren’s. Even then, after all our patience, the owner had to be convinced to rent it to us.

“We promise, we’re staying at least five more days.” Really, she just didn’t want to have to clean two rooms that day.

So why did we stay so long? Because there was nothing better in the same price range that had two great rooms available, and we weren’t going to move if everyone couldn’t upgrade.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Details & Peculiarities
Room 1: the Jail Cell

Our window – the one covered in bars – was right on the corner next to the entrance of Bhagsu Villas. So, unless we had our curtains closed at all times, every person who walked by could look into our room.

The cold and dark bathroom in our ground floor room at Bhagsu Villas
The cold and dark bathroom in our ground floor room at Bhagsu Villas

. . . .

Because the room was so small, there was nowhere to put our clothes. So, for nearly two weeks, we lived out of bags and piles of clothes hidden under a table.

. . . .

A wonderful family moved into the room next to ours, which meant we had a pair of adorable kids to play with every time we left the room. It also meant that every morning we awoke to the sounds of screaming and crying children.

. . . .

The bathroom window never fully closed, which meant that mosquitoes had a permanent invitation into our room.

. . . .

Thinking that we would be moving rooms soon, Carrie and I never got around to putting up our customary photos or decorations. After more than a week, we finally decided to make the place our home, which guaranteed that the next day our new room became available.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Details & Peculiarities
Room 2: a Sweet Suite

Our balcony had a scenic view of another hotel’s rooms and balconies. It also looked out over the only steps/path to get around the area.

The beautiful view from our third floor balcony at Bhagsu Villas
The beautiful view from our third floor balcony at Bhagsu Villas

. . . .

Our balcony was shared with the room next to ours. Fortunately, that room was occupied by Lauren.

Our second bathroom at Bhagsu Villas. While it was much larger and nicer, the hot water heater only created two temperatures: freezing and nuclear
Our second bathroom at Bhagsu Villas. While it was much larger and nicer, the hot water heater only created two temperatures: freezing and nuclear

. . . .

The hot water heater in the shower had two temperatures: ice cold and nuclear hot.

. . . .

One night there was a giant fight across the ravine next to our Indian guesthouse. On our side, people lined the hill and their balconies to see what was going on. Turns out it was all because some guy got drunk, thought someone had wronged him and wanted revenge.

. . . .

Every morning we would order chai or coffee before heading out to Iyengar Yoga class, which was delivered to us in our room.

The faulty lock to our balcony at Bhagsu Villas - a simple push would have broken it
The faulty lock to our balcony at Bhagsu Villas – a simple push would have broken it

. . . .

The lock on our balcony door was hanging on by one loose screw. If we didn’t know our neighbor, I would have insisted that the owner fix it for security reasons.

. . . .

A few days before we left Bhagsu Villas, Carrie and I were awakened at 9am by a knock on the door. The owner wanted to show our room to another backpacker who stood there completely embarrassed to have woken us up.

. . . .

I befriended a Nepalese guy named Cameron who worked at the Thai restaurant at the bottom of the steps leading up to Bhagsu Villas. To this day, we still keep in touch on Facebook. I hope to have the chance to visit him again.

The foyer outside our third floor suite at Bhagsu Villas
The foyer outside our third floor suite at Bhagsu Villas

Share the Journey

  • http://www.wildsofwherever.com/ Callie

    Haha, at least you never got bored!

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      That’s 1000% for sure. There’s always something going on at these guesthouses…even if all I want is a good night’s sleep. Thanks for your comment! :)