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Loi Thapila’s Heartwarming Journey: From Ubon Ratchathani to Trat’s Embrace, A Tale of Dreams and Kindness

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Imagine living a life so beautifully simple that the complexity of the world remains a mystery to you. Now, meet Loi Thapila, a soul from the quaint Bu Puay village nestled in the heart of Ubon Ratchathani’s Nam Yuen district. Loi embarked on a journey not just of distance, but of dreams, riding hundreds of kilometres to taste the salty embrace of the sea for the very first time. His odyssey began on the brisk morning of March 3, with his heart set on reaching Trat by evening on March 8.

Loi’s narrative is one that tugs at the heartstrings—a man who has known solitude, living alone after years of separation from his wife, while his children built their nests elsewhere. His days were spent in the company of forgotten treasures, collecting and selling recyclable garbage to piece together a living.

The tapestry of his adventure caught the public’s eye when a reporter, stationed in the serene Surin province, stumbled upon Loi taking respite in his sidecar at a petrol station in Sanghla district on March 7. A sign tenderly draped beside him read, “This old man is collecting garbage from Ubon Ratchathani to Trat. This old man is willing to receive your little kindness.” The simplicity and purity of his mission captivated the heart of the reporter who then shared his tale—an act that spun Loi’s story into a whirlwind of social media virality.

With just 200 baht in his pocket but a wealth of determination, Loi chose Trat for its distance, aiming to stretch his dream as far as the horizon extends. Wrapping his life across the 418 kilometres by the shortest car route (and a staggering 573 kilometres by bus), Loi’s journey was enriched not by the distance, but by the kindness of strangers, and the small miracles of food, drinks, and donations he received along the way. Seeking refuge at petrol stations by night, and collecting recyclables by daylight, Loi’s path was illuminated by the generosity of temples and the goodwill of passerby—redefining the essence of a journey.

Loi’s integrity shone brightly when he clarified he wasn’t a fabricator of tales seeking easy charitable donations; no, he was a dreamer chasing the saline taste of the ocean for the very first time. And as the clock struck 4pm on March 8, our intrepid dreamer set foot in Trat, receiving a heroes welcome courtesy of the Trat Industrial Council.

Navigating the roads with the help of truck drivers and sign posts, Loi’s tale became a beacon for the community, guiding the Sawang Boon Chuay Lua Foundation to his side. They whisked him away to witness the sunset melt into the ocean at Ban Pak Klong Bang Dan beach, a canvas of nature no TV screen could ever justice. Here, Pichit Wongpraikorn, the generous soul behind a local seafood restaurant, laid out a banquet fitting for a king, welcoming Loi with open arms and a feast to remember.

The sea, a vast mystery just days before, now lay before him, tangible, vast, and as Loi discovered with a tearful joy, salty. The realization of a dream long-held was too profound for words.

The Trat Industrial Council didn’t stop there; they had bigger plans for Loi. The following morning, they sent him on a ferry to Koh Chang, booking him into the luxurious Marine Sand hotel. Loi’s joy knew no bounds when he was chauffeured in an electric golf cart down to the beach—he dashed into the sea, his laughter mingling with the sound of waves.

Loi had never imagined that his dream would unfold into this grand adventure. He had thought maybe, just maybe, he would get a fleeting glimpse of Koh Chang from the mainland. But here he was, embraced by the warmth of Trat and heralded as a guest of honor. His gratitude for this journey, for every hand that guided him, every heart that welcomed him, fills the pages of this remarkable tale—a simple man’s dream transforming into a saga of human kindness and the boundless joy of discovery.


  1. Joyce March 10, 2024

    This story warms my heart! It’s amazing to see communities coming together to support someone’s dream. It really shows the power of kindness and how it can change lives.

    • Karl_the_skeptic March 10, 2024

      While it’s a touching story, I can’t help but think about the systemic issues that force an elderly man to embark on such a journey for something as simple as seeing the sea. Isn’t this indicative of a larger failure in our society?

      • Joyce March 10, 2024

        I see your point, Karl. It does highlight some of the shortcomings in our societies in terms of accessibility and support for the elderly. But, at the same time, it’s heartening to see people stepping up to make a difference in an individual’s life. It’s complex, but there’s beauty in the community response.

  2. EcoWarrior March 10, 2024

    Loi’s dedication to collecting recyclables even while pursuing his dream is inspirational! It’s a strong message about environmental conservation amidst personal journeys. We can all take a leaf from his book.

    • TechBro123 March 10, 2024

      True, but let’s not romanticize the struggle too much. We should aim for a world where people don’t have to pick garbage to see a dream through. Why not focus on creating more impactful environmental policies instead?

  3. DreamChaser22 March 10, 2024

    This dude is the embodiment of ‘never too late to follow your dreams’. Makes me wonder what dreams I’m putting on hold… Maybe it’s time to act on them.

    • RealistRick March 10, 2024

      It’s great to be inspired, but let’s be practical. The story is heartwarming, but not everyone has a community ready to support their dreams. Most dreams need practical planning and resources, not just goodwill.

      • DreamChaser22 March 10, 2024

        While I get where you’re coming from, Rick, sometimes the leap of faith is all it takes. Resourcefulness and a bit of community support can go a long way. Loi’s story is proof of that.

  4. LocalJoe March 10, 2024

    I’m from Trat, and seeing our community come together like this fills me with pride. We should all strive to be more like the people who helped Loi achieve his dream.

    • SkepticSam March 10, 2024

      It’s a good deed, but let’s not pat ourselves too much on the back. One act of kindness is great, but consistent support and infrastructure for the needy is what truly makes a difference.

      • LocalJoe March 10, 2024

        You’re absolutely right, Sam. This should be the beginning, not the end. We must work towards creating a more supportive and inclusive community every day.

  5. BeachLover March 10, 2024

    The sea has a special way of touching people’s hearts. I’m glad Loi got to experience its beauty. It’s a reminder of the simple joys in life we often take for granted.

  6. FiscalFred March 10, 2024

    Interesting story, but I can’t help think about the economic aspect. Did the donations and help come from personal contributions or were community funds used? There’s a bigger conversation to be had about charity and its sustainability.

    • CharityChamp March 10, 2024

      From what I understand, it was all personal contributions and voluntary support. It shows the power of individual generosity and how it can make a big impact.

      • FiscalFred March 10, 2024

        That’s reassuring. While individual charity is wonderful, it’s also a reminder that we need to work on building systems that support our elderly and vulnerable so they don’t rely on spontaneous acts of kindness.

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