When I think back on it, I’ve always enjoyed spending nights in unusual places. When we were children, my siblings and I would often sneak into each others rooms at night, dragging our mattresses in so that all three of us could sleep together. When we grew older, we would sometimes set up the tent in the garden just for fun, or sleep on the verandah. Once, we even tried sleeping on the trampoline, though it turned out to be really uncomfortable!
This got me thinking about the most unusual places I’ve spent the night on my travels. And there have been some cosy, some strange and some magical places to add to the list:
In a treehouse, waking up to the sound of gibbons making their call around the Laotian jungle.
On a sleeper bus, with or without a stranger next to you. Be prepared with a good book and some snacks to keep you going. You’ll be in for a long, bumpy ride, probably with very little leg room!
In a 12 bed dorm in the remote town of Broome in North-Western Australia, where friends become family and you have to insert a dollar into the air conditioner every few hours to get a good night’s sleep, or you will end up in a pool of your own sweat!
On a Greyhound bus from Darwin to Alice Springs – not a sleeper bus. Just a bus. The only stops are some isolated petrol stations, where you can buy a dried out sausage roll and an over-priced chocolate milk for ten dollars.
In a swag under the stars in the Kimberley. Just you and the night sky. The stars are so much brighter in these isolated places. Be prepared for it to get quite cold during the night and check your swag for snakes before you get in!
In a boat cabin on the Great Barrier Reef. Find your bunk bed and let the waves rock you to sleep. Remember, it is a tropical area so it is going to be hot and sticky. If in doubt, take some sea sickness pills.
In a bed and breakfast in the Lakes District. Wake up to the flickering wood fire and a full English breakfast, before taking a walk along one of the many public footpaths. Then, come home to a hot bath and a warm bed.
On the couch of a friend of a friend, in Copenhagen. My first experience of couch surfing. Local guide, though he was high on weed most of the time. He gave me a tour of Christiania and taught me skills that would come in handy in Amsterdam. Couch surfing can be hit or miss, but why not give it a try?!
In a campervan in the national parks of NSW. Keep it cosy, draw the curtains and try to find somewhere legal to park the van, or at least keep the party music down for the neighbours.
At a homestay in Sapa, where I downed shots of rice wine out of respect for their traditions and awoke to a magical sunrise and a freshly-cooked crispy chunk of black sticky rice. Just rock up in Sapa and you will find plenty of hill tribe ladies ready to take you trekking into the mountains.
Where is the most interesting place you have spent the night on your travels?