The reason I travel and a story of a lady in Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Monday, February 01, 2016

There are many reasons why people travel; we travel because it opens the mind and sharpens the senses, to get to know ourselves better, to escape the boring routine of our regular life, to see the world, to learn and to experience new things. For me, however, another reason we travel is that travel humanizes. Not that people from other cultures are un-human, but out there on the road, we can also learn how good people can be.
Koh Phi Phi Leh
We’ve heard a lot of tragic stories when we are travelling; we might have been robbed, scammed, harassed and a lot of other horrible things that could happen to travellers. Because of the media, it is easy to make generalizations and form negative stereotypes about other people and their foreign customs. And yet, we might have also experienced being helped by those people who were virtually strangers but went out their way to help us even when they don’t need to without expecting anything in return. These inspiring acts restore our faith in humanity and inspire travel. Read more inspiring travels in this site
On the way to Maya Bay
Three years ago, my friends and I flew from Kuala Lumpur to Krabi on the third day of our Southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia adventure. I have Philippine peso and Malaysian Ringgit in my pocket. I did not bother exchanging some peso to Thai Baht before leaving KL because I assumed there would be plenty of money changer in Krabi. True enough, there were plenty of money changer in Krabi. But because we arrived early, all of them are still closed.

We decided to board the ferry to Koh Phi Phi Don where we are staying for three days. My friends had about one thousand baht, so they let me borrow some for the ferry ticket. I am not worried at that time because based on my research, there are also a lot of money changer in Koh Phi Phi Don. Yes, there are a lot. But to my surprise, not a single one would buy Philippine Peso! I was on there verge of panic attack. How the hell are we going to survive without cash? I tried to withdraw money from my savings account, but for some reason it did not work. Koh Phi Phi Don is a place where Philippine peso is non- existent. 
Koh Phi Phi Don
We decided to eat first in this small local restaurant near the market. We ordered thai food and we asked this lady on where we can exchange Philippine peso to Thai Baht. She is the owner of the restaurant and unfortunately, I was not able to remember her name. We told her we did not have enough Thai Baht. The lady, even though she could not really communicate well in English, left the restaurant with us as soon as we finished our meal. She even gave us discounts on our order! She led us to several foreign exchange stalls and even asked other local residents on where we could exchange our money. 

In the end, we did not find any that would buy our Philippine peso. I was baffled. This never happened before. I was getting very discouraged and wondering how we would survive the next days without cash. The lady, however, said she is willing to buy our peso. She offered her money and just helped us out from the kindness of her heart. We refused to take her money because we thought she would also have trouble exchanging peso and it would be so much of a hassle if she would need to go to Krabi to have it exchanged. My friends and I decided to just use our credit cards. We thought, we’d rather pay the foreign transaction fee than let this lady go on so much hassle. The lady had gone to such lengths to help us and we really appreciate that. We were truly touched, to the point that the day before leaving Koh Phi Phi Don, we went back to her restaurant to say goodbye and pose for a picture with her. 
My friend Maki and the very helpful Thai lady (Unfortunately, I cannot recall her name)
Three years later, I still remember this sweet lady who helped us, smiled at us with such a warm heart, and wanted nothing in exchange. In an island where tourists are constantly bombarded by tourist traps, this lady’s kindness and generosity have really stuck with me.


How about you? Do you have any inspiring travel stories on the road? Let’s chat down below. Have a wonderful week ahead! ^_^

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