Since we left the UK in 2013, Andrew and I have stayed in hundreds of hostels, hotels, guesthouses, apartments and Airbnb places. While some have been incredible, like our five-star honeymoon suite in Thailand, we’ve also stayed in some real dives and battled with bedbugs more than once. Here’s a look at five of the most unusual travel stays we’ve experienced to date, from a longhouse in Malaysia to a lavish London pig sit.
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An Iban longhouse in Borneo
In our quest to spot wild orangutans in Borneo we somehow ended up being invited to stay at a traditional Iban longhouse by the village chief. His wife promptly whipped out a mattress and mosquito net, then we spent the evening watching Malaysian soaps on their cable TV and drinking rice wine with the whole family. The next night was even more unusual as we ended up sleeping under the stars in the nearby national park with our new Malaysian friends – a bat even crash-landed on our bed! You can read the full story here.
Our hobbit home in Maine, USA
We were road-tripping through a glorious New England fall when we rocked up at this rustic wood cabin in Belfast, Maine. A cross between a hobbit home and the setting for a horror movie, the house was handmade by the owner’s grandfather and set in the middle of the forest. It had a wood burning stove, old piano, an overgrown garden and to add to the sense of isolation, no wifi. Minus the freezing cold Maine temperatures, we loved our stay in this quirky, rustic getaway.
A Sri Lankan jungle hideaway
Imagine being greeted by dozens of cheeky macaques peering in the window of your hotel. That’s what we got when we arrived at our over-the-water jungle villa in Sri Lanka. This boutique resort in Dambulla featured just five unique villas designed by one of the country’s most famous artists, Laki Senanayake. The huge panoramic windows made us feel at one with nature and we were able to watch monkeys play and spot fireflies from the comfort of our bed.
The Everest Base Camp tea houses
One of the most brutal things about our Everest Base Camp trek was the tea houses. They may have only cost $2 per night, but they were basically made of plywood so I froze in the sub-zero temperatures and was kept awake by the snores of other trekkers through the paper-thin walls. That’s not to mention the lack of showers and occasional outdoor squat toilet we endured. Most of our evenings were spent drinking tea in the dining rooms, which usually had a stove powered by yak shit, to keep warm – it was all part of the adventure!
A London pig sit
We always like to house sit in London during summer trips to the UK, because it’s the only way we can afford to stay in our beloved capital. This year, we landed an incredible sit in a beautiful west London home that we’d never in a million years be able to afford in real life. As well as getting to look after three delightful dogs and two cats, we had our own huge pair of Kune Kune New Zealand pigs in the back garden! It was lovely to wake up to a prod from the cat and the snorts of Snout and Crackling every morning.
What’s the most unusual place you’ve stayed in while travelling?