I’ve just recently stayed in the Polish city of Gdansk where I stayed in two rather unusual accommodations. The first was in student housing at the city’s Music Academy. Upon arrival I was met with violins being practiced and as I left, goodbyed with the sound of operatic singing. My second was in one of the towers of the old town wall, renovated and fitted out as small apartments. These two strange locations got me thinking about other odd and uncommon places I’ve slept in throughout my travels. So here are some other strange places in which I’ve spent the night.
Ice Hotel of Jukkasjarvi
By far one of the most awesome stays I’ve had while travelling was at the Ice Hotel of Jukkasjarvi in northern Sweden. This hotel is indeed made of ice – the walls, roof, bed, furniture, bar – all ice. When travelling through Scandinavia this was something I was desperate to try and I was so glad I did. The rooms are as cold as -5ºc and you sleep in a thermal sleeping bag, on a spread of animals furs, in your thermals. I actually had a great night sleep there, even with a small opening of my sleeping bag so I didn’t feel claustrophobic. You only get to use the hotel at night as people get to tour through the hotel during the day. Still, it’s all worth it for a night on ice.
Cave Hotel in Cappadocia
The region of Cappadocia is one of the most popular and bewitching places in Turkey. From its classic hot air ballooning to its weird, yet beautiful landscape, it’s an iconic destination. When visiting, another essential experience is staying in one of its many cave hotels. The caves are dug into the region’s unusual rocky formations and allow the locals to escape the harsh Turkish sun during summer. The rooms were so naturally dark, that one morning I woke up and thought it was still nighttime, leading to much confusion when I headed outside.
Village House in Chambok
During my visit to Cambodia, one of our stops on our tour was at the Chambok Ecotourism Community in Kirirom National Park. Part of the experience of visiting the community was staying with a local family. Their house was a small wooden shack raised off the ground with just two rooms. And that is where we slept, the 10 of us in one room sleeping under mosquito nets. The community rotates through who tourists will stay with and when they are the hosts, they move and sleep in an even smaller, secondary lodging. Staying here helped us appreciate how people live in rural Cambodia and also get to know them on a personal level. A wonderful home stay experience.
No, it’s not what you are thinking. I wasn’t sick or hurt. I wasn’t staying in a ward or something, but rather the on-site accommodation for families of patients. These rooms are ran as a hostel, so travellers are able to book a stay there. It certainly felt bizarre walking into the hospital. Equally odd was having breakfast in the hospital cafeteria, surrounded by mothers with their newborns. Despite the unusual surroundings, my stay was fine and was one of my cheapest lodgings in this expensive country.
On Deck a Gulet
When I visited Turkey a few years ago, my friends and I spent 4 days out cruising along its Mediterranean Coast in a Turkish sailboat known as a Gulet. Now, sleeping on a boat is nothing unusual I admit. What was different was that we didn’t sleep in cabins, which the boat did have. No, we all slept up on the deck, on the sunbeds and under the sails. This was in part due to the cabins being tiny and already half full with just our luggage. It was also due to the excessive heat down there, as they trapped much of the heat from the 40ºc+ days and the boats engines. Still, who doesn’t want to sleep under the stars in the Mediterranean Sea.
Berber Camp in the Sahara
One classic experience for visitors to Morocco is camel trekking in the Merzouga Dunes of the Sahara Desert. These tours usually include a night out in the desert in a Berber Camp. The camp is set up with a series of tents surrounding a small common area covered in carpets. During the night the tents can get hot so people often sleep outside under the stars. Unfortunately, I had gone for a barefoot wander around the dunes and returned back to zero space left, so I did sleep inside. Still, camping out this way in the Sahara Desert was a unique experience.
Where is the strangest or coolest place you’ve spent the night while travelling? Please share your experience with us in the comments below.