As an adventurer and traveller, I have slept in some very strange places; either to save money, to do the complete opposite and splash out, or as part of a wild journey, which most of the time it is! Here I compile a list of the weird and wonderful.
- A Ladies Waiting Room in a Train station
It may sound pleasant, but it’s really not. Arriving at the station in Calcutta, India; to find out our train we were expecting to take, be 7 hours delayed into the night, and with a shrug of a shoulders as an answer to our question on accommodation, we plodded into the ladies waiting room to avoid the burning eyes of every member of public at the station. Escaping from the leering stares of men, we were ogled at in curiosity in the ladies waiting room. All seats were taken and the room was bursting with families having picnics on blankets laid on the floor. We huddled onto our backpacks, nestled into our sleeping liners and attempted to sleep whilst the irritating train arrival jingle repeated constantly throughout the night… every 5 minutes… for 7 hours.
- Juara Mientra Resort on Juara Beach
When visiting the Tioman Islands in Malaysia, make sure you leave plenty of time to be flexible on dates when visiting due to an inconsistent number of ferries. I unfortunately travelled on a whim throughout Malaysia, only planning my trip as I went and so arrived at this resort with only one day to spare and with little prior organization (an element to a trip when you have no phone) there were not many accommodation options left. With only the sea side rooms available, I splashed out to my own personal wooden hut on the beach, with walking distance to the sea and an individual sun lounger, complete with a mini bar and bath. Perfect.
- On a slow boat in Laos
I’m not sure how I fell asleep on this one. On this trip of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, I was with my guy best mate and I was on my summer holidays after my first year at university, so to be honest, the trip was kind of a drunken haze. Especially with those destinations being such a popular hit with young British backpackers, we did all jump into tourist activities with reckless abandon and aim to have at least one beer a night! We took the slow boat through Laos, which was no doubt about it, slow. Passing the serene landscape of traditional villages in the middle of nowhere and floating past carved out pieces of rock, the boat slowly overloaded with locals and all their belongings; live chickens, bags of rice and extended members of family. As the boat nearly sunk under its new groaning weight, families chatted casually and backpackers swapped stories, I slept on my own shoulder… waking up dribbling hours later.
- Nutz Hutz in Bohol
Recommended by a fellow backpacker, I plodded past hilly stone filled paths and cut into the jungle undergrowth, which led me to this paradise based on the island of Bohol in the Philippines. Hidden away in the dense forest, are huts running alongside Loboc River built from local produce and act as a serene tranquil haven where one can sleep amongst nature without the mosquito bites to match. The unique location and the attention to detail throughout this accommodation makes this place wonderful.
- In a dorm with 32 other people in Taupo
Going really budget on my trip around New Zealand meant at one point I stayed in a 32 bed dorm. Rammed with heaving bodies, all with overflowing bags and our own night noises, it was an experience to say the least. I stayed in this dorm before I trekked the Tongariro Crossing, my first serious hike, and a 20k one at that. Waking up at the crack of dawn after only a few hours of sleep was tough, but I do recommend other travellers to search for cheaper options within lodging if needing to save money- just bring ear plugs!
- Galdessa in Kenya
This was my first experience at a Safari and my Dad took us to a luxurious resort in the depths of Kenya. The camp oozes sophistication and opulence; the beds are soft foam mattresses with crystal white sheets and matching mosquito nets- that protect you from the critters at night. The interior is styled exquisitely with wooden chairs carved out of craggy branches as if picked up from the sandy plains itself. It was incredible to sleep just a thin sheet away from the wildlife that encompassed the natural surroundings and have breakfast whilst a family of elephants plod past was a magical moment.
- On a porch in My Tho
I started my trip in Vietnam volunteering in My Tho building houses- which is extremely hard work, especially in the heat I can tell you! We would wake up early to commence a productive morning and then lunch on carefully prepared meals from our house sitter. After sharing delicacies with the local builders and joking with each other about football teams, most of us would fall asleep on the cold tiled porch where we would all have lunch every day. I would never mean to, but I would always find myself falling asleep whilst, just like clockwork, a rain storm would wash down whilst we slept.
- In a Korean Buddhist Temple
I’d always wanted to stay in a Buddhist Temple because I agree in most parts, the concept and practice of their religion. I jumped at the chance to do so when visiting Lumbini, in Nepal. Wandering into the Temple Complex I found a mat in the Korean Buddhist Temple where I embraced bucket showers, squat toilets and meditative thinking (not meditation I seriously struggle with that). It was everything I hoped for, it gave me time to think about my life choices, my issues and my future I wanted to build. It was beautiful.
- In the community of Bliss in Tacloban
Whilst visiting the country the Philippines, I volunteered in Tacloban, a city that had been swept apart by a disastrous typhoon. During my stay I was acting as a media intern and living with my “nanay,” a local family. The room I stayed in was created for volunteers, a wooden box within the house, and it didn’t ventilate air well, meaning I had to sleep starkers. I didn’t mind the bucket showers or the unhygienic toilet conditions, what I did have a problem was waking up in the middle of the night to find a cockroach had scampered over my sweaty, naked body. Horrifying!
- On the floor in a cupboard, Christchurch
My first introduction to Couchsurfing was a mention by a fellow traveller when speaking about my financial situation. I joined the network Couchsurfing and managed to find a host based in the city centre of Christchurch who was willing to host me on such short notice, and on the dates I was visiting. Arriving in the middle of the night after nearly being arrested at the airport for cross contamination, (another story for another time) I was a little shook up. My host picked me up from the airport in silence, avoiding eye contact and conversation. My heart sank. It sank even lower when I was taken to where I would be staying, a cupboard under the stairs with a set of duvets on the floor, as if Harry Potter. Need I say more?
What’s the craziest place you have slept? If you want to avoid cockroaches and train stations, be sure to check Elvoline.com for a nice, comfy hotel room!