Ferocious monkeys, a power outage, a lonely and awkward Sophie, and the overwhelming kindness of the Thai people? Read all about how I was stuck in a bungalow on the island of Koh Chang, Thailand, during an island-wide power outage and how two Thai people showed me unbelievable kindness.
If you haven’t heard, Thailand is known as the land of smiles — and to me, the land of some of the kindest people in the world.
Whilst traveling around the island of Koh Chang, I had the opportunity to experience this utmost kindness and generosity first hand… after an unfortunate event.
It all started when my travel buddies and I booked a beautiful (and cheap!) bungalow up in the lush jungle, near one of the party towns on Koh Chang called Lonely Beach.
Renowned throughout the island for being party central, every night was bumping. Packed with more clubs and bars than tourists, one could easily find a cool Chang beer to drink in no time.
This is precisely why we decided to base ourselves near Lonely Beach but after walking around for hours trying to find somewhere with a room for three, which was sadly unsuccessful, we ventured slightly further down the road.
While I say “down the road,” it was more like a half mile or so away from Lonely Beach. And with the rolling hills and curving road of Koh Chang, it was awkward to walk from our place to the bustling town. Thus, we ended up renting a couple motorbikes for our time there.
My point of that little tidbit of information? At night it was damn near impossible to get to Lonely Beach without proper transportation. And of course… I didn’t know where the keys to the motorbike was, let alone how to drive it!
So, this is where it gets interesting…
One night while on the island of Koh Chang, my travel buddies planned on heading into town to hit up some bars and have a few — or many — drinks. I had a bit of work to catch up on (yay for the digital nomad life!) so I decided to stay back at the bungalow.
Here I am, chugging along with work, when something unexpected happens.
Everything goes dark.
Like completely pitch black except for the light of the full moon shining in through the cracks of the drawn curtains.
Although, I don’t panic. Power outages are normal in Southeast Asia; they happen all the damn time. Usually after a few minutes, no more than 10 or so, the power turns right back on like it never happened.
This wasn’t the case for little old me in Koh Chang, Thailand.
And to make things worse? Since the power went out, so did the Wi-Fi. My laptop (and my plan to get some work done) was rendered useless. I couldn’t do diddly squat except just sit there and wait.
And wait… and wait… and wait.
After waiting for what felt like hours, panic and worry started to seep in. Not only was I completely by myself, our bungalow was literally between two towns. Damn near in the middle of nowhere is what it felt like!
Not only that, our bungalow has some nasty neighbors… ferocious monkeys.
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Just earlier that day, Joe, one of my travel buddies, was hanging out in the bungalow watching some Netflix when he heard a tap on the door…
When he turned his head to see who was outside, he realized it wasn’t a who, but a what…
A rather large monkey was sitting at the glass doors, peeking inside the bungalow at Joe.
As the monkey reached for the handle, Joe launched himself at the door just in time to lock it securely in place. Clearly, these monkeys were smart and opening doors to get into the bungalows wasn’t something new to them!
After Joe hastily locked the door, the monkey realized what he’d done and not only glared at Joe through the glass door, but also snarled at him like a wild dog.
No doubt, these monkeys weren’t here to play! They wanted to get in and terrorize our little bungalow… or terrorize Joe.
Either way, this made me even more scared of leaving the bungalow whilst the power was out on the entire island. I definitely didn’t want to get attacked or bitten by a mean monkey! Who would, right?
But I was so alone!
And yet, I couldn’t just sit in the bungalow and do nothing! I had to get to Lonely Beach and find out what the heck was going on.
After summoning up the courage (and peeking out the window about a hundred times to assure there were no terrifying monkeys outside)…
I cautiously opened the door and slipped out into the night.
Our bungalow was surrounded by a few others but it seemed as though I was completely alone; no neighbors, monkeys, or life form to be seen. The only source of light to guide me was the moon, helping me not trip over the vines and branches snaking over the pathway.
As I scampered down the hill our bungalow was situated on, anxiety crept into my mind and my stomach felt like it was in knots. I had absolutely no idea where Dan and Joe were, let alone how I’d get to them in the first place!
After motorbiking around Koh Chang, Thailand for a few days beforehand, I was pretty good with navigating around the area. Although, I’d only experienced it in the day time… this was much different.
At 11:30 pm at night, combined with the power outage, everything was black. The road from our bungalow was long, curvy, dark and desolate.
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While I was worried about the monkeys, I was more worried I’d get run over by a car or motorbike whizzing past me, as they definitely couldn’t see me in the darkness! So, I used my flashlight not only as a navigational tool, but as a way to let others know I was there.
After about 10 minutes of walking, the equivalent of a tuk-tuk was swiftly approaching me on the road. I managed to wave down the driver with my phone flashlight but, as it turns out, my luck was just getting worse.
The vehicle was going in the complete opposite direction and wouldn’t give me a lift…
So, I continued to walk… my hope of catching a ride dwindling down to nothing.
The distance and minutes ticked on… 5… 10… 25 minutes went by. I thought to myself, “I swear Lonely Beach wasn’t this far away from the bungalow…” But then again, we always drove the motorbikes around.
Finally, another motorbike was coming, and going in the direction I was! Hope bubbled up inside me. I managed to flag it down — giving them the universal thumbs up hitchhiker sign — and noticed it was two Thai people on one motorbike.
The hope was snuffed out as fast as it flamed up.
There was no way this couple would allow me to ride along with them, as there was hardly any room on the motorbike!
As they pulled up slowly next to me, the man asked me in broken English where I was heading. I told them in a slightly depressed voice, “Lonely Beach, just down the road.”
Without any hesitation, the lady behind him scooted up a bit further and motioned for me to jump on.
I was frozen with surprise.
Their willingness to give a complete stranger a ride — walking down a dark and desolate road, mind you — was unwavering. I was unbelievably grateful for the lift and their generosity and kindness nearly brought me to tears!
After all my travels across Indonesia, Laos, and Cambodia, I’d never experienced something like this before…
The unwavering capacity and preparedness to just give; to not expect anything in return.
My heart nearly burst when they dropped me off at my destination and kindly said their goodbyes. I couldn’t thank them enough for what they’d done for me, yet all they wanted was to make sure I got to where I needed to go safely.
After about 20 minutes of walking around, I finally found Dan and Joe on the street. They couldn’t believe I’d hitched a ride with a couple of random Thai people but I was just grateful I’d found my friends!
I’d made it to my destination safe and sound. Though, I wouldn’t have without the kindness and generosity of the Thai couple, who I’ll no doubt be thanking for the rest of my days! No question about it: the Thai people are some of the friendliest I’ve come across.
Tell me, have you ever experienced unbelievable kindness like this before? I’d love to hear your story! Let me know in the comments!
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