This is a partly fictional story of traveling to Koh Samui based on my personal travel experience in 1999. Photo above was made in 1999 and the only thing that changed is that there are now more trees. Yes The Tongsai Bay has a strong Green Policy that comes from the heart, not from the PR department. For more information have a look at their website : The Tongsai Bay.
I already had made a long journey with Thai Airways flying from Amsterdam to Paris and from there to Bangkok, and then I had to wait again for my final flight with Bangkok Airways to the tropical island Koh Samui, in southern part of Thailand. The private airport of Bangkok Airways is one of the most beautiful and picturesque that I have ever seen and I have seen a lot of airports. Arriving at this airport is almost like arriving at someone’s private home. As I was very tired I was very glad to see the happy face of Po with a sign with my name on it. In a luxury limousine my host, The Tongsai Bay, picked me up from the airport. In an easy 10-min. drive from the airport we drove through a dark Koh Samui. Along the coast I could see little fishing boats on the sea. But the most beautiful experience was when we entered The Tongsai Bay. From the main road I saw a big Spanish looking gate, illumined by little lights. As The Tongsai Bay is build upon a hill we drove down to the lobby, from where you overlook a beautiful garden full of palm trees and just like the gate illumined by lights all over the garden. While the soft summer breeze from the sea tinkled my hair, I walked into the lobby where the two most beautiful and gracious Thai lady’s greeting me welcome at The Tongsai Bay; “Sawadee ka, welcome to The Tongsai Bay". After a refreshing welcome drink I was escorted trough the tropical hillside garden to my private Grand Tongsai Villa. Entering what would be my home for the next 7 days I could not believe what I saw. A beautiful teak wooden house, with a giant living room and adjoining air-conditioned bedroom. Both facing the unbelievable big teak wooden terrace, with a bathtub and a gazebo! I even had my own private bar, filled up with enough drinks to kill me!
Home sweet homeAs I was too tired from traveling I ordered a simple dish to eat at my private terrace. Well the word simple is something that does not qualify the diner I was served. A dish with sautéed King Prawns with Carrots, Mushrooms, Onions, Celery and Red wine sauce was served together with brown rice and vegetables. And after my diner, when I ordered them to remove the remaining of my diner, they walked in with plate of choice of 5 sweet Thai desserts. On recommendation of the fact that it was mango season I did choose Mango with sticky rice and coconut cream. Yes, now I know why Thailand is also called the land of the tropical fruits. At the end of this evening I felt a sleep on the gazebo, while I was watching the moon and stars. But the real breathtaking moment I experienced when the first light of the rising sun and the sound of birds give me a wake up call to tell me that the beautiful creation of Mother Nature was waiting for me. So after a bath in morning light I walked to the restaurant to have a breakfast. As I was one of the first guests I had a nice talk with one of the waiters, who invited me to watch the offering to the spirit house before I had breakfast. By good Thai tradition every piece of land with a house has a spirit house to invite the spirits in there instead of in the real house. With a little walk and climbing on top of a little hill on the other side of the bay there is platform with 3 wooden spirits houses. And every morning you can see Thai people offering food, drinks and flowers to the spirits. Besides this beautiful event to watch the offering, from this point I had a beautiful view over the Gulf of Siam and could even overlook the next bay behind the Tongsai bay. Now it was time to enjoy my breakfast. At all the choices at the buffet breakfast I choose a continental breakfast, with freshly baked bread, home-made marmalade and a real British cup of tea. And this all completed with a mixture of fresh Mango, Pineapple, Watermelon and Papaya. This was the best start of my first day at Koh Samui that I could ever imagine. After I refreshed myself I had the time to walk around The Tongsai Bay. From my villa I walked down to the beach where there is Floyd’s Beach Bistro and even a bar right on the beach. When I was walking on this more or less private beach I realized for the first time the peace and quiet surrounding. No Jet Ski’s or any people trying to sell you all kind of things, no shouting or yelling people. I finally found me a place to relax and become one with nature. No pollution of the air, a beautiful blue sea and a fruit cocktail in my hand. Does paradise really exists on earth?
Around on the islandAfter some leisure at the beach and the with fresh seawater filled swimming pool, I decided to have a look on the island. And as the hotel provides cars and motorbikes for rent, it’s quiet ease to get around the island. I took a small motorbike, a brand new Honda Dream. Leaving the gate of The Tongsai Bay I luckily did not forget to drive on the correct side of the road: Left! As the hotel is situated between Chaweng and Bo Phut I had the choice of both, but as I did not know my way around I ended up going to Chaweng. This is a long white sand beach, with a long stretched road behind it full of hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, banks, supermarkets and all kind of little shops. As I’m not the kind of person to like the crowded places I drove on to Lamai beach, which is a bit similar to Chaweng but not yet that developed. From Lamai I took the “highway” back to Chaweng and after that to Bo Phut. This is partly still a real Thai village with a few hotels and guesthouses. At The Lodge, an 8-room hotel, I had a nice but simple Thai lunch. Being tired of driving all day I took my way back to The Tongsai Bay. That evening I was invited by the owner Khun Akorn to have diner with him at one of the three restaurants; he did choose "The Butler’s". It’s a small restaurant with only 20 seats, but serves great fusion dishes. As usually for Khun Akorn he also invited some of the staff and a cook to have diner with us. So for the first time in my live I had the opportunity to dine the Thai way. As it is not normal for Thai to eat appetizers and main-dishes, all kind of dishes are served at the same time. And everyone joins all the delicious food together. In this way everyone gets a bite of everything. I love it!
When I woke up the next day, this time not in the gazebo but in a super king-sized bed, I experienced that my muscles where not fit for another day of motorbike biking. When I told this to some staff they brought me to one of the masseuses, to give me a refining and refreshing traditional Thai massage. After a massage of one hour I did feel reborn again. Continuing living like this did give me the energy and opportunity to explorer the full culture & nature of Koh Samui. In the following day’s I made a jungle trekking, explored the gypsy villages, relaxed at the beach, swim in the huge swimming pool and watched a traditional Thai dance. After 7 days in heaven at The Tongsai Bay I had started to love all the people who took care of me in the past days. But not only the people, also the beautiful place The Tongsai Bay and the tropical island Koh Samui, where everybody seems to be happy. Where white beaches are waiting to be found, where having diner is a joyful experience and a smile always awaits you. And although I had not left yet, I was already missing my tropical hideaway The Tongsai Bay and all the friendly & loving people working there. With sweet dreams in my mind I left the airport of Koh Samui, looking trough the window of the airplane, as we were to take off. To see the last glimpse of my beloved island Koh Samui and some of those little lights down under me should be the light of The Tongsai Bay.
Epilog: Khun Akorn died in the spring following my visit, but his dream of The Tongsai Bay is kept alive and shaped for a golden future by his son Khun Thanakorn & his wife Khun Saisiri.
Epilog : In the summer of 2018 I did return to Koh Samui and enjoyed a lovely lunch at The Tongsai Bay. It felt great to be back again.