Thailand with its rather peculiar shape is surrounded the Gulf of Thailand, the Andaman Sea and the Strait of Malacca and with 3148 km of beachy coastline it is no wonder that it is popular destination for many. What many of you may not know is that it also has 1430 islands, the most popular and well know would be Phuket [interesting fact: with the completion of the 660 m Sarasin Bridge, the island was connected to the mainland], Koh Phi Phi and Koh Samui just to mention a few.
Today, however, I would like to focus our attention on Koh Samui. With an area of 228.70 km², the 3rd biggest island is in the Gulf of Thailand. The origin of Koh Samui’s name is derived from the Chinese word Saboey, which means “safe haven.” The island was once a safe haven for fishermen during monsoon season. Over time, the word Saboey became corrupted to Samui. Also, colloquially known as “coconut island”, as one-third of the island is covered in coconut trees and plays a significant role in the Thai economy.
Considered by many as the most beautiful island in Thailand, it is not only about the pristine beaches, clear waters and amazing sunsets. The island has some very interesting attractions. In no specific order, my top three:
The mummified monk, Luang Pho Daeng, died over 40 years ago, but his body has been preserved and is on display in a glass case at Wat Khunaram temple. The mummy is adorned with a pair of sunglasses, not because he is trying to be cool, but simply to respect the fact that many may feel a little uncomfortable at the fact that his eyes are shrunken and scary looking.
The mystical Secret Buddha Garden [Tarmin Magic Garden], a hidden gem in Koh Samui’s hills. The garden was created in 1976 by a local farmer, Nim Thongsuk. At the time he was 77 years old, and he spent the next 14 years carving statues of Buddha and other mythical creatures out of stone and wood.
The most interesting however, the Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks, also known as the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks, which are natural rock formations located on the southern coast of Koh Samui. Legend has it that the rocks were formed after an old couple drowned at sea, and their bodies were transformed into the rocks as a symbol of eternal love. They are named after their shape, which resembles male and female genitalia.
Now, that is what I call….keeping it interesting!