Bir Billing: Staying at One of India’s Prettiest Travel’s Zostels

Bir Zostel Plus Review: The idea of Bir Billing had been on my mind for months. Having a feel of Zostel’s plushy spaces before, there wasn’t a second thought about clicking the “Book Rooms” button.

As much as I’d love to say Bir’s Zostel Plus (or the Bir 2.0) was the best, I can’t. I never got to fully experience it for myself. Don’t get me wrong, but my stay was just not the way I imagined.

Nothing went according to plan. I caught a fever for the 2 days I had in Bir. Most of my time, I spent on my bed resting (and in the washroom to puke).

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Bir Zostel Plus Review

I was frustrated about having spent so much only to stay in bed. But looking back, I realized that all traveling fatigue simmered down only because of the carefree accommodation. Here goes my Bir Zostel Plus blog (and review – sort of).

Bir Zostel Plus Review

While I lay in bed, my friends couldn’t help but take a handful of shots of Bir’s Zostel. The Bir Zostel Plus property was the most magnificent I’d seen. It isn’t large compared to the Zostel Plus I stayed in Wayanad, Kerala.

Yet it’s simply eye-catching. Zostel’s official site calls it their ‘Butterfly’ in Bir. I thought it was just a play with words to promote it.

Nonetheless, when my tandem paragliding flight hovered over the same spot, I realized why: the building is shaped like a butterfly. I’d never thought of it while staying there!

Like most Zostel spots Bir had more or less the same theme – Spacious walking spaces, aesthetic sofas, decorations, warm lighting effects with pillows and seats sprinkled throughout, and outdoor garden space with tables and seats.

Not to mention – the game room of guitars, books, board games, and a tiny TV. Wall paintings and decorations spoke of what Bir stood for. But my favorite was the setup of common spaces.

Read my Medium post: Bir Billing — The Worst Travel Experience I’ve Ever Had

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Bir Zostel Plus Review: Look at that cute thingy!

The Shared Hangout Space

Bir Zostel Plus Blog: Vast glass panels that made it seem like a Cinerama screen substituted for the building’s walls. That was added with rustic stone-textured walls for the butterfly building’s exterior.

The untypical shape of the space itself made it stand out The curved sofa blended by wide windows was oddly satisfying to see. Pillows lined up over it making it further irresistible to dive in.

Grab your Bir Zostel Plus Room Deal today!

Bir, being one of the colder parts of India in Himachal Pradesh, was a good reason to keep its guest accommodations ‘cozy’. And Bir Zostel had taken good advantage of the fact. Even the floors of the space were spread with large colorful puzzle mats!

Later that evening, I played cards (and a guitar later) with a bunch of other travelers here and couldn’t help but think of the large Christmas house in Home Alone.

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Bir Zostel Plus blog: That sofa… uff!

Workspace and Snooker table

On the adjacent space was a similar-shaped area equipped with a snooker table at the center. This side was technically the other side of the butterfly wing so it had its own curved end.

However, this one didn’t have that cool sofa. Apart from the snooker table, it seemed more of a workspace with tables and sockets lined against the windows. I sat here one evening for an official Zoom call.

The view behind my Zoom call was beyond my imagination. First, the mountains. Then the sky started filling up with colorful paragliders. Now isn’t that something?

Zostel’s Own Chic Cafe

Another thing that made Bir Zostel Plus – and a big reason why I wrote this blog in the first place – notable was its cafe. I’ve not stayed in many Zostels, but not many have great cafes.

Usually located at offbeat spots, I daresay the prices are between average and expensive anywhere. Even still, some Zostels have pretty decent food while others don’t. Having stayed at Manali the previous day, . But Bir Zostel was the best among all.

Most of the vegetables used in this spot were grown on the property, and everything was fresh.

Having my sickness obnoxiously lingering even as I ate, the chefs were kind enough to prepare lighter meals for me like Khichdi and some light fruit juices. Of course, I couldn’t finish before the nausea returned, but it sure tasted good!

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Bir Zostel Plus Review: Pretty Patterns on Zostel’s walls.

Organized Half-Day Trips

Honestly, there aren’t a whole lot of things to do in Bir. There’s paragliding, a handful of monasteries, and a couple of treks that are authentic to Bir.

I think it’s sweet to lay back in Bir for longer. But for those on budget and time constraints, I’d say 2-3 days is quite sufficient. So here’s a pro tip if you’re staying at Zostel: book your hostel and keep your itinerary free.

Bir’s Zostel, like most others, has several ties with local organizers. Just head up to the reception desk and look up a bunch of things to do – the staff would be more than happy to help you.

If you’re on a spree to do all of them, discuss and organize your timings accordingly. Paragliding, much like river rafting, isn’t always a pack-and-go thing. The winds and weather are first priority after all.

Aside from the paragliding is the local well-known ‘Hidden Waterfalls’ trek in Bir. I’d read about it before going to Bir but didn’t pay attention to it. But on my last day there, another traveler at Zostel told me how wonderful and challenging the half-day trek was. He showed me pictures of dipping into the secret water pools at the main destination and it did seem quite cool!

Grab your Bir Zostel Plus Room Deal today!

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Bir Zostel Plus Review: I forgot I had this shot!

Disappointingly, I neither had the time nor the energy for a trek. In case you’re going, don’t miss it! Zostel organizes these morning trips – the Bangoru Hidden Waterfall or the Gunehar Waterfall (they’re literally neighboring falls).

Another post for you to read: My Favorite Go-to Hostels in Singapore: Backpacker’s Guide

Location: Not Offbeat

Bir, the town itself, is an offbeat visit. Moreover, it’s a tiny spot – anywhere you head here should take no more than a 15-minute drive unless you’re heading to the paragliding take-off point (Billing).

The Bir Zostel Plus, unlike most Zostel Plus properties, is a walkable distance from the town bus station. It isn’t secluded from the town as such, locals walk around the accommodation.

It’s said to be only 2.3 km from the city center. Having seen Delhi city’s filth just a week before, I didn’t expect much of the location here, imagining it to be populated at the center. But it was surprisingly nice. In fact, it was calm and the views were surprisingly breathtaking even with the whole town spread around the facility.

On one side, Zostel’s building seemed to be on an elevated point while the mountains loomed over from behind. During the day, we held the rare privilege of witnessing the colorful paragliders hovering from those mountains.

Even as I check up on location reviews now to refresh my memory, it’s by far the best feature of Bir 2.0. Restaurants are nearby, the trek point is a short walk away, Bir Landing point is also close and the monasteries aren’t too far for a scooter ride.

Other Hostels in Bir

Backpackers love Bir and the Zostel Bir Plus is always on the verge of being ‘Sold Out’. Why wouldn’t it be? Hell, we had to book it 10 days in advance and those were the last 3 bunker beds left!

But if you do miss a chance, don’t fret – there are a handful of options in Bir. I handpicked some of my favorite hostels for you on HostelWorld – the go-to site for any adventurous backpacker. Book your hostel today!

  1. The Lost Hostels Bir (current hottest addition!)
  2. Bir Nest
  3. Flashpackers Bir
  4. Cosmic Kriya Bir

I use HostelWorld as most properties are usually reviewed and they tend to maintain their facilities. Not to mention, the accommodation is not dead cheap but definitely worth the buck.

Grab your Bir Zostel Plus Room Deal today!

Anyway, if you’re hung up on getting Zostel accommodation, make sure to book early. If not Bir, Zostel has two other properties around Bir (outside Bir though):

Zostel Homes Harabhag, Joginder Nagar (40 minutes away from Bir), and the Zostel Barot. The Barot Zostel in Rajgundha is, however, a whole different spot around 3 hours from Bir. Considering this isn’t Bir, they’re both entirely different adventures compared to Bir Zostel 2.0.

Bir Zostel Plus Review: Tailpiece

Here’s to ending this Bir Zostel Plus review. Or as others would call it – the Bir Zostel 2.0 review. I wonder why the two names but both refer to the same hostel – don’t fret.

The next time I visit Bir, I can imagine myself sprawling over the mats of Zostel Bir Plus like a cat with finger-licking mealtimes. Apart from the paragliding, I have yet to visit the monasteries of Bir, trek the hidden Gunehar waterfalls, and do some food-hopping.

I pray that I don’t get sick the next time for Bir is too beautiful to stay inside, even with the wonderful Zostel by my side. I might even take up that paragliding course! I’ll skip out on bungee jumping in Bir though, it looks boring.

That sums up this Bir Zostel Plus blog. Happy traveling!

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Manas Patil

Hi there! I'm a 22-year-old dude all the way from India, I love traveling and building itineraries! Sign up and get your FREE COPY of my travel checklist to get the best of your next vacation!

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