Chaweng was like an eager school kid performing on stage, tripping over himself to amuse the audience. The beach was situated in the more calmer section of Chaweng: its southern parts. It was called the Chaweng Noi, on the ring road traveling south towards Lamai Beach. The beach was a grainy white canvas and the sea, an azure carpet. There were too few people here and Nature was beautiful and untouched. Few heads could be seen alternately bobbing briefly above the waves before disappearing underwater. The beach here appeared to be a good swimming spot. The family spent the entire day in a lazy fashion, either walking long spells along the shoreline hand-to-hand or snoozing on the beach on rented beach-beds under an umbrella.
The next day, they left for the Northern part of Chaweng. An offshore coral reef and a shallow beach supplied an enchanting excuse to be there. This was actually an ideal spot for small children to reckon with and Jessie had spared no excuse to make sure Sill was taken there.
That night had to be the best of dinners in all the outings the family had ever taken, local or overseas. Chaweng at night took on a whole new flavor. Not the Chaweng Beach Road, with its hodgepodge of neon lights, noisy hustle-bustle, crowded streets and loud hawkers, but the Chaweng beachside, deserted and tranquil except for the distant sounds of the sea. Though only 300 meters apart, they seemed to be worlds away.
The concept of Beach Dining has been around for years, with ad-hoc, make-shift restaurants embracing this inventive option for open-diners. Not surprisingly, at most beaches in Koh Samui, Beach Dining is prevalent after dusk. Just before the sun disappears behind the western hills, smartly dressed staff begin laying out mats called mon—brightly colored lounging cushions—and short-legged tables and lamps to go with, some electric. Flaming torches set in the sand, gave an ancient, Persian feel to the evening. At some establishments, the wooden beach-chairs used during day to enjoy the sun, were, at evening, converted into platforms to sit upon and dine.
Agal, Rick, Tom, Jess and Sill sat around a wide wooden table. A Roman candelabra, decorated with acanthus scrolls and set in the centre of the table, held three flaming candlesticks perfumed with an aroma that seemed to catalyze appetite. Fairly lights had been wound around and suspended from the beams above, on which the make-shift roof slates rested. The pale-orange wash from the flaming torches and the mute, lavender-white glow from the overhead fairy lights, set the diner in a dreamland cruise and created an atmosphere that Agal, Rick and the children would cherish for a long, long time.
The next morning the family checked out of Iyara Resort, bound southwards.
THE SOUTHERN BEACHES OF KOH SAMUI
It had been a perfect day trip. The beaches to the south were named Thong Krut, Bang Kao and Hua Thanon. En route to these beaches, the travelers had had some unforgettable escapades.
A waterfall. A tiger zoo. The Samui Aquarium. A monkey show. And a Temple. Temples such as this, known as Wats, are one of many such Buddhist temples in Samui. The island has a pronounced Buddhist populace, the Chao Samui.
It was late evening by the time they arrived at Laem Nan Beach—between Chaweng and Lamai—where they had a booking at The Silavadee Pool Spa Resort.
Silavadee in the vernacular tongue meant “beautiful rock”. The resort was touted to be the latest luxury hideaway, set in the most beautiful rock beach in Koh Samui. With 19 pool villas in secluded layouts and 36 deluxe rooms, the Resort had been conceived in a unique style based on a back-to-nature concept. Here, one could enjoy the private infinity-edge pool and the Aqua Bed Massage Jets situated in the private pool of each villa—a unique design of 14 Jets for a massage to stimulate and invigorate the fatigued parts of the human body.
Their first stop by rental jeep the next day had been at Hin Ta and Hin Yai meaning Grandpa and Grandma Rock, in the Thai language. Agal had learnt that there was a story that was told of the rocks. Ta Kreng and Yai Riem (grandpa Kreng and grandma Riem) lived with their son in the southern Thai province of Nakhon Sri Thammarat. Their son having come of age, they felt it was the right time he got married and arrangements had been made for him to wed the daughter of Ta Monglay, who lived in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, about 400 kilometers to the north, a mandatory journey by sea. The party set sail and after a brief journey into sea, the boat was caught in an unfortunate storm and sank just off Koh Samui. The couple, unable to swim, had drowned and had been washed ashore as rocks—proof to Ta Monglay and his wife, the parents of the proposed bride, of their good intentions. To this day the rocks still stand.
Proceeding further, with Richard behind the wheel, the rental jeep bounced gently along, southbound from Lamai. But he had refrained from telling either Agalvizhi or the children as to where they were headed. Jessie had pleaded and Sill had whacked his father on the head with a cucumber but the latter would not succumb. His secret would be the surprise element when the suspense revealed itself.
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