Wednesday, 9 December 2009 12:00 AM
US foreign policy has banned competitors of HostelBookers from offering accommodation in Cuba, Myanmar (Burma) or Syria.
As a British-owned company, HostelBookers are not bound by this travel ban, and continue to offer the best in budget accommodation in these destinations.
Whilst traveling to these countries can present an ethical dilemma, they still have wide appeal for travelers. HostelBookers are answering this demand for a more unique travel experience with the best hostels in each destination.
Cuba is utterly unique. Travellers staying in Cuba Hostels can discover a tropical island of palm-fringed beaches and water-sports, bars sultry with salsa beats, and crumbling colonial buildings.
The capital Havana is not to be missed, with streets of brightly coloured American Buick cars, psychedelic Che Guevara murals and cafes of old men, playing cards and smoking Cuban cigars.
Like much of the Middle East, Syria is a far safer and more cosmopolitan country than people realise.
In this vibrant country, ancient history mingles with everyday life – locals picnic beside ruined monuments, and the streets are a jumble of donkeys, bicycles and 1960s American taxis. Each city boasts citadels, relaxing hamman baths and ancient souk markets.
Syria is full of Unesco-listed sites, from the ancient city of Damascus (one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world) to the Greek ruins of Palmyra in a desert oasis. There are Damascus hostels, Aleppo and Palmyra, making backpacking around the country easy.
Travelling to Burma is an ethical decision for some travellers. Thanks to a tyrannical political regime, the country has been boycotted by the international community, and many backpackers wish to follow suit. But this land really is a world apart from the rest of South-East Asia, with streets of British colonial houses and steam-boats sailing down rivers.
The country boasts many mystical sights – from Bagan’s 4000 Buddhist temples resting on a river shore, to floating villages and peaceful monasteries at Inle Lake. Travellers can stay in Yangon hostels, a former capital with a major international airport and the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most important religious site in the country.