My Unexpected Couchsurfing Experience! 54

I have heard a lot about couchsurfing, and had decided to register for an account last year. I have never had a good impression of couchsurfing, I have read stories where others had terrible experience while using couchsurfing.


In 2009, a Chinese tourist was raped by her host in Leeds, England. Abdelali Nachet, 34, threatened to kill her and raped her twice, the ordeal had lasted throughout the night. Nachet was in turned sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.


There are more terrible and scary stories of various couchsurfing going through terrible ordeals against their will.



After register for an account last year, I kind of kept it stagnant, not intending to meet anyone or to host anyone. I enjoy my privacy and frequently stay in private rooms even when I am travelling alone. I got to know someone from Vietnam, let’s call him AW, and when AW and his friend was travelling into Singapore last year, they had proposed to meet for dinner, but as I did not know them well, I decided to give it a missed.




Singapore has a relatively smaller couchsurfing community compared to other countries that are willing to host other couchsurfers. When we were young, we were taught a chinese proverb, 防人之心不可無, 害人之心不可有, which means that you need to be cautious against others, and do not have evil intentions.


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AW was travelling around Indonesia and Malaysia recently, and had a short layover in Singapore. AW had asked to hang out while he had a short layover in Singapore. Since AW looks like a pretty nice guy, I had decided to give it a try to meet him and his cousins. As they have visited Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa, Merlion and even Marina Bay Sand. I brought them down the heritage trail to Little India, where they visited the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and followed by Clark Quay.




As AW would be leaving Singapore early morning back to Vietnam, we ended the day at 85 Bedok North Market. We had delicious BBQ chicken wings, satay and even pork minced noodles.


AW had initially wanted to take a shower at my place before heading to the airport, to wait till his flight. Since it was getting late, and we seems to be able to click, where he shared his life, his travels and adventure with me. I decided to open my place, and for the first time be a couchsurfing host.


I had offered AW my brother’s bed, as he had moved out. We spent so much time talking about the various adventure that he had, and he shared with me his couchsurfing experience. He also offered his place for me to stay when I travel to HCMC in the next few months.


When I was about to doze off, I saw AW writing something, I was too tired to bother about it, and after a while he came up to me and gave me a handwritten postcard with words of encouragement.




The Borobudur Temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument, build in the 9th century, it was neglected for many years and was buried under volcanic ash. It was rediscovered in 1815.


It reminds me to be resilience and to never give up, sometimes life throws you under the bus, but keep trying and keep your spirits high!


My unexpected couchsurfing host experience was awesome! Friendship has been foster, and I believed that true friends are borderless. I still believe that you should follow your instinct! Trust takes time to be built! Have fun and Couchsurfing!

Have you tried couchsurfing either as a host or as a couchsurfer? Share with me your experience in the comments below.

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54 thoughts on “My Unexpected Couchsurfing Experience!

  • Bob

    I have never tried couchsurfing and while I can see the benefits I think I am just too damn old. Something about staying with someone in their house, hell I don’t like to stay with relatives much less strangers. I have stayed in Guesthouses with shared facilities, rented apartments and of course hotels. I may try the house sitting thing though that sounds interesting. Sounds like you had a good experience though.

  • tom

    It’s good to see this loding services get some pesonal reviews–I think we don’t see that enough. And Singers seems like a good place to try it (write up some more about that city).

  • Tami

    I, too, have been hesitant about hosting a couchsurfer or pursung a couchsurfing stay. But I do like to connect with people in different cultures. I have had some good expeiences with some Airbnb stays, so at least I’m getting a little braver.

  • Tamara Elliott

    My sister has travelled all over the world on a tiny budget, made possible through things like couchsurfing! If nothing else, the experience leaves you with a great story to tell 🙂

  • Theresa

    Ironically, during my backpacking days I never tried couchsurfing. I stayed more in hostels and hotels. Perhaps it’s my paranoid mind that told me to avoid it for the same reasons you mentioned. Regardless, I’m glad that you had a fantastic first time on your first couchsurfing host experience. Hope all of them are positive for you.

  • anna

    We LOVE couchsurfing and have met so many awesome people through it. I’m glad you enjoyed your experience and hope you have many more good ones.

  • Vicki Louise

    I have never tried couchsurfing – and to be honest I don’t think I ever will. But I am super pleased to hear that it all worked out for you and that you gave it a go with someone you felt comfortable with – and that your friendship is now stronger is awesome!

  • mark wyld

    Sounds like a great experience were had in meeting a fellow traveller. It’s a shame in this day and age that we are afraid to do such things as couch surf. The world that we live is becoming an increasingly isolated place where trust in our fellow human beings is diminishing rapidly

  • samiya selim

    We habe hosted several couchsurfers and have always had a positive experience, we are good friends with some of the people we have hosted. We tried surfing this time for the first time in australia and whilst the hosts were great,we didnt feel comfortable surfing too much. Will continue to host ourselves 🙂 glad you had such a good experience yourself!

  • Castaway with Crystal

    The media loves a sensationalised story, especially when it can scare people away from something good like Couchsurfing. I tried CS for the first time in India and have never had a bad experience since, having used it about thirty times over the last couple of years, as well as being a host for about 10 people. The worst that has ever happened was that I had to host someone I found incredibly boring. Out of the thousands of people Couchsurfing every single day, only a handful of them have been bad. I love CS, it has revolutionised travel for me.

  • Ria

    I had not really nice experience with CS in Singapore 🙁 long story but after that I decided never again stay alone in a guys house. In Malaysia somehow nobody was free to host me but in Indonesia – so many CS, that you even don’t need to write them personally, if you write in group asking about advice, somebody will contact you and suggest to stay in their place 🙂 (of course maybe because I’m a female? :D)

  • Angela

    I am very skeptical of the couchsurfing idea as well, I enjoy my privacy and am worried about sketchy characters. I have heard great stories though and have not crossed it off my list of things to try just yet. So thanks for sharing your wonderful experience!

  • Natasha

    I’m glad you had such a good experience! I have had both good couch surfing experiences and bad ones. It can be very scary as a solo female traveler to put your trust into someone random like that. Now days I don’t really couch surf anymore because it is too much time and energy trying to set it up. Hopefully in the future I can revert back to it.

  • Lillie

    So interesting! I used to do a ton of Couchsurfing around the world before I was married and had kids, and always had a great experience. I’d also add that most people don’t realize Couchsurfing is great for finding free events and volunteer opportunities, too, using the Groups section. That’s how I found my volunteer teaching job in Ghana!

  • Monika

    I used Couchsurfing in the past and I had lots of postive experience, both as a host and a guest. Recently, I haven’t had time for neither, but I hope one day I’ll try it again.

  • Marta

    I have never tried couchsurfing (I do a home exchanges, which is different but also requires a god deal of trust), but I totally believe when you travel you should follow your instinct with people and give them a chance! Some of my closest friends I met abroad and the bonds are incredibly strong, even after many years!

  • Heather Widmer

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I have never tried Couchsurfing myself and have always been curious. How wonderful that you made a genuine bond with a fellow traveler. I hope that you’ll also write about your experience when using Couchsurfing as a guest as well 🙂

  • Nisha

    I have never tried couchsurfing but have been contemplating about it. I see the benefits, can host people but staying at some strangers place is just not me. Probably I need to change the way I think. The world is beautiful.

  • Jenna

    So glad you had a good experience and made a new friend! We’ve never tried couch surfing, mainly because we prefer relaxing in our own space and having a spot of our own, but I would be open to trying it at some point! It’s always so great to meet people when you travel and couch surfing can be a great way to do that. Definitely agree–you need to trust your instincts, but we find that generally people are pretty good overall and there is so much kindness in the world!

  • Arzo Travels

    A few years ago I considered it but dismissed the idea as I am, at least when I travel solo, bit scared to end up at a scary place. But I think it is a great concept (I might host someone I have some more information about) .

  • Paul

    We’ve only done couch surfing once and also had a great experience, I don’t think you should let other stories put you off, but you must also feel comfortable before doing it.

  • Mags

    I’ve not had a lot of couchsurfing experience, but what I have has been great. I’ve both hosted and been hosted and met some great people. It’s always important to be cautious and use common sense, but I would hate to let one horrible incident keep me from a great experience.

  • Vidya Purohit

    Same here, Even I have never tried couch-surfing. But I am really happy to hear that it worked for you and that your friendship is now stronger, sometimes it works and sometimes it can be a disaster depending on how the person is , but I don’t think ill ever give it a try 🙂

  • Sabrina Barbante

    I could couchsurf but I don’t for the same perplexities you had. But your story is so encouraging! The world can be wild no matter what experience you do, CS is no difference. If we are puzzled by bad experience is because the most of cases are still good. Thank you for your post!

  • Kristina

    This is really good information. I’ve never couchsurfed before, but I am an Airbnb host. So I do have a good frame of reference for the sharing economy. This definitely makes me more inclined to review my old Couchsurfing account I created years ago.

  • Tina

    Haha … I was pretty scared as well with couch surfing but I met soon many great people and never had any problem while couch surfing!
    It is definitely worth a try and I can say 99.9 percent of the time you will love it! You will get a totally different kind of experience when you stay with people that actually life there rather than staying in hotels or backpackers!

  • Rashmi&Chalukya

    We have the same kind of a feeling, we wonder how can we allow someone whom we never knew into our homes, though we are very much interested in meeting new people from different cultures and learn their stories. We have also registered on Couchsurfing for a long time now and are waiting for same instinct moment as you said. Let’s see 😉

  • Alina Popescu

    Sounds like the beginning of a great friendship! I understand your cautiousness when it comes to couchsurfing. I think I’m more likely to be a host than ever use it. I generally have to have a private room with good internet connectivity, as I almost never travel without having to work. But I have had friends who couchsurfed and hosted other couchsurfers and had positive experiences.

  • Ann

    Sounds like an awesome experience. I was getting worried when you mentioned that you saw him writing something.

    Couch surfing sounds like an incredibly awesome experience for people who do it. But, my personality type, I value privacy more than anything, would make it really difficult for me to enjoy myself. I don’t even like opening up my home to family and I tend to stay at hotels when visiting others. I know I’m missing out.

  • Sheri

    I am glad you had a good experience with this. I have heard both positive and negative stories about couch surfing, and for me personally would not be something I would ever think of doing, it is too big of a risk for me, and I prefer to have a nice spacious hotel room, but I can understand those who do it, or also seek the fun and adventure in doing the couch surfing.

  • Charles McCool

    I have had two Couchsurfing visits and both were amazing. I do not really pay attention to the sensationalize news about CS, Airbnb, etc. After all, how many murders occur at hotels every year? That does not keep people from staying at hotels.

  • Sarah Harvey

    Nice story! I’ve never used couchsurfing before and that is such a terrible story what happened to that girl in Leeds, how absolutely awful. Perhaps couchsurfing could be better when two people travel together, or when you’ve already met the person at some point in your life. But surely it uses some kind of “review” system to check out a host and see that other people have stayed with them and that they’re normal, decent people!? I should hope so!

  • Evanne

    I’m glad your experience was good! It sounded like you got to know your guest pretty well before inviting him into your home which is smart. I don’t know if I’ll ever try couch surfing – I’ve considered it!

  • Karen S Burns-Booth

    I’ve done couch surfing and I have enjoyed it! I am not sure I could do it all the time, bit it was fun when I did in London a few years ago and I made lots of new friends too! SO pleased that your first experience was a positive one! Karen

  • Stacy

    Wow. I was just waiting for something bad to happen. I guess I’m that old. I now travel with three kids in tow so couch surfing really isn’t an option for me, but I can definitely see its appeal for younger people on a budget. What sort of safe guards do couch surfers have i place to be cautious? It sounds like you did a good job getting to know your friend before letting him stay.

  • Jessica Friend

    What a great way to start couchsurfing! I’ve known lots of people in my uni town of Norwich host couchsurfers and they’ve been fun to hang out with. Maybe you’ll meet life long friends – do you feel encouraged to do it again and do you have any advice?

  • Kirnay

    I haven’t tried couch surfing ever but after knowing your great experience I am thinking to give it a try at least. I like your words “Trust takes time to be built”. Awesome

  • Kusum

    So loved reading this, its good to know that there is still so much love and care beyond borders (and other evil intentions we often hear of). Glad to hear you had a wonderful time using couch surfing, I am yet to use it myself though I use airbnb and love the experience.

  • Matthias

    What a story. I love couchsurfing. Did it myself a lot and also hosted a lot of people. It’s always great to meet ppl from different countries with different backgrounds. One learns so much from it.

  • Jerny

    The turn of events was totally unexpected. xD At least, you weren’t raped or anything unlike from those you have heard or read (the negative feedbacks) with couch surfing! If we ever happen to go to your place, would you be able to host us, Bernard? 🙂


  • Zaria Papa

    Hi Bernard,

    I have heard about couchsurfing but I have never tried it. I am not sure if I would give it a try but I am glad that you ended up having such a great experience along with making a new friend. Thank you for this post!


  • Jojo

    I have never tried couchsurfing and I think it is one of those things that would take me a while to possibly get into. I, for sure, would not host somebody if I was the only one in the house with them. Even when I book Airbnb, I usually go with whole house. I’ve tired a private room once and although it was just one night and the host was very friendly, I still felt uncomfortable and do not think I would do it again unless the private room was in a different section of the house.

    I’m glad you had a good experience though. And got a nice postcard and note from it! I am open to meeting people in public from around the world but not yet comfortable with hosting.

  • Brendan

    There are terrible stories of tourists being rapped, kidnapped and robbed all over the world all the time, most of which were probably not Couchsurfing, but instead staying in hotels, hostels and guesthouses. Even though these happenings occur all the time they are still quite rare if you take into account the number of people travelling. Don’t let these rare stories usually inflated by the media keep you from possibly meeting amazing people. Couchsurfing is a great way of making friends for life from all over the world and one of the easiest, most affordable ways of getting a unique experience into how the locals live and think. I just spent 58 days Couchsurfing in Iran and all I can say is that it was an eye opener into how kind and concerned Iranians are about foreigners in their beautiful country.

    Go out travelling, make new friends and help make the world be a better place. Forget what the media tells you about the dangers of the world, I have travelled to more than 30 countries and lived in 8, and in my experience I can say that most people in those countries are nice like you and I!