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Bookstore-themed dorm a haven for travellers

While staying at Route Five Hostel, you can read to your heart’s content. (Muhammad Rabbani Jamian @ FMT Lifestyle)

KUALA SELANGOR: In the calm fishing village of Pasir Penambang here, tourists can enjoy delicious seafood and other delicacies, or watch gorgeous fireflies flit around at nighttime.

However, most travellers who come here usually stay for a few hours only before driving back to the city. They don’t stay the night.

For a unique holiday experience that grants you more time to marvel at the beautiful scenery here, a bookstore-themed dorm called Route Five Hostel is a charming and cosy spot to get some much-needed rest and just soak in all that Kuala Selangor has to offer during your stay.

The most fascinating bookstore-theme dorm is right through that door. (Muhammad Rabbani Jamian @ FMT Lifestyle)

Not your usual dorm, this one is built into row upon row of bookshelves resembling a bookstore. Once you pass through the entrance door, you will be greeted by comic books and novels neatly arranged on shelves, right next to your sleeping quarters. There are curtains for privacy.

Co-owner Audrey Goo, 42, said she built the hostel so her friends who visited had a place to stay for the night before heading home.

“Since they were mostly in the start-up business, they tend to stay away from pricey hotels and prefer homestays, which gave me the initiative to spruce this place up and transform it into a hostel,” she told FMT Lifestyle. That was around mid-2019.

The wood panels used here are recycled from those previously used at KL International Airport (Muhammad Rabbani Jamian @ FMT Lifestyle)

Renovations were a challenge though, Goo admitted, as she wished to maximise the use of the small space without sacrificing aesthetics, a process that took her about six months to achieve.

Big on sustainability and style, she also used recycled wooden pallets from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to furnish the place. The end result was a vintage feel hostel that is home-like and inviting.

To stock the shelves, Goo brought over her large stash of comic books and novels accumulated over the years. Now travellers can read these in bed before dozing off to sleep.

“This seems as good a place as any, because other people can appreciate the books too,” she smiled, adding that over time, guests have contributed to the book collection, leaving their novels here before departing.

A good book and a cosy bed, what else can a booklover want? (Muhammad Rabbani Jamian @ FMT Lifestyle)

The hostel has ten single beds and four double beds, and can therefore accommodate 14 to 18 people at any one time. There’s also a co-working space adjoining the dorm where guests can work on their laptops or mingle with other guests.

The majority of guests here are local tourists and backpackers from all corners of the world, including Europe and the United States.

Initially a co-ed hostel, Goo said she recently converted the place to become an all-female dorm for the safety of solo female travellers.

Worry not though, because if you come in a large group and prefer to book the whole hostel for your family, males are welcomed too.

The attached co-working space is spacious and functional. (Muhammad Rabbani Jamian @ FMT Lifestyle)

Initially meant for young travellers, Goo soon realised that many middle-aged people often stopped by too. “Some of them even came alone, saying that they needed a respite from their busy family or work life in Kuala Lumpur. They would come here to rest and recharge for a night or two before going back.”

Once, Goo said, three different groups of guests, all from the same school in Seremban, converged here over the span of three days. “They were all from different age groups and had never met before this, but after they realised the coincidence, they gathered together and celebrated one of the guests’ birthdays. I heard they became friends after the encounter.”

The interior decor at Route Five Hostel is tastefully done. (Muhammad Rabbani Jamian @ FMT Lifestyle)

It’s stories like these and meeting interesting people from all over the globe that motivates Goo to keep running the hostel.

“I also love that I get to introduce and share what I love about Kuala Selangor with them, which is my way of doing something for my community.”

Route Five Hostel
Level 1,
205, Jalan Pasir Penambang
Pasir Penambang
45000 Kuala Selangor

Contact: 014-6743413 (WhatsApp only)