Having spent the previous night partying it out in the city that never sleeps, it was no surprise when we woke up the next day with droopy, heavy eyelids.
Nevertheless, we were so excited about the next part of our trip that we rushed out of bed like ninjas. We headed straight to the airport to rent a car, all set for our next adventure. This time, we were taking things to a whole new level with one key element: spontaneity.
We knew that we would head towards Phuket, but did not have any of the specifics planned out. In fact, we hadn’t even booked accommodation for the rest of our trip. While others might have been freaking out in our position, it only added to our eagerness to explore: we were free to discover Thailand without any restraints.
Since we had at least ten hours of road trip ahead of us, we created a rule: if something looked interesting enough, we would stop to explore it.
It was not long before our first official stop. By “official stop”, I mean our first time getting out of the car for something other than to get coffee and pick up travel essentials. What we’d stopped to see was a floating market.
A floating market is exactly what its name suggests; it is literally a market on water. The market sold practically everything: toys, kitchenware, t-shirts, dresses, swimsuits, hats, accessories, useful items such as flashlights and other gadgets, even souvenirs for tourists such as ourselves.
The market also had an abundance of food stands. This was quite convenient as there were no restaurants nearby for hungry drivers. As a matter of fact, there was nothing else around. The floating market was completely cut off from everything. It stood proudly on those waters as a petite highway oasis.
Before parting from our petite oasis we had a bowl of spicy chicken noodles, whilst enjoying a performance by a group of tribal artists who were dancing in the middle of the market. There was no entry price for the performance, nor an announcement. It was simply a delightful and unexpected surprise, courtesy of the market.
After five hours of driving, the landscape began to change drastically. Nature started to dominate the road and there were less and less vehicles.
Every new turn held an exotic new sight for our amazed eyes. The fascinating scenery kept on unfolding as we passed by a village flooded with palm trees and coconut shells. It was a gorgeous, tranquil landscape that would make anyone yearn to exchange their busy urban lifestyle, for a more serene alternative like this one.
It wasn’t all magical, though. We soon started to notice things beyond the natural beauty; things such as the emaciated cows and the poorly constructed huts. It served as a powerful wake-up call to remind us that no place is perfect and that we should never stop feeling grateful for what we have.
We had been driving for eight hours –excluding all the stops- and it was beginning to get frighteningly dark.
We were also really hungry, but the pit-stops we were passing by did not offer that many options for our grumbling stomachs. The tiredness was starting to get to us. As midnight approached, it became even more urgent for us to find a place to rest.
Since there didn’t seem to be anything around, we used our phones to search for accommodation. At ten to twelve, we managed to find a resort nearby, and book a room.
We were not expecting much from the resort. Given our tiredness and hunger, any half-decent place with a bed and something to eat would suffice.
Much to our surprise, however, we got out of the car to find ourselves in front of a secluded, stunning, tropical-themed resort with five-star quality bedrooms. It was a surreal way to end to this eventful and exotic day.
I am generally not an ungrateful person, but the gratitude I felt that night for the small comforts: the hot, relaxing bath, the nutritious meal, and the cosy sheets of a warm, comfortable bed, was unparalleled.
It made me think about how all these daily comforts, which we so often take for granted, should be cherished every day. So, this is exactly what we did. We enjoyed every drop of the warm water in the shower, every bite of our tasty dinner. And we couldn’t wait to enjoy every minute of our long, rejuvenating sleep! We had no idea what tomorrow would bring, but with a good night’s rest, we would be ready for anything!
by Daphne Lambi