The Village of Hua Thanon
Hua Thanon is a Muslim fishing village south of Lamai, where a large community of Samui’s Muslim population lived. While major parts of the east coast had seen rapid development, it looked as if the spree had abruptly ended before Hua Thanon, and a trip beyond the village would appear akin to a trip back in time. Hua Thanon had been the only part of Samui to have ducked under the sweeping hand of mass-tourism.
The passengers’ reaction was just as Rick had expected, one of disbelief. Hua Thanon had appeared like a tile that just wouldn’t set in the Samui jigsaw, but it had turned out to be the keystone. The village was a survivor from the Old-Samui times, of verdant jungle-clad hills, water buffaloes grazing by the roadside, and little shack-cafes selling soft-drinks and simple Thai food. Rickety, teakwood houses lined the road but the tourists could also see some decent seafood restaurants and ethnic clothing and jewelry boutiques. Several years back, they could have seen long-tail boats setting off to cast nets in the sea for their daily catch of fresh fish. Today, however, the houses of teak had been put to a more modern use with play station arcades and cars parked in the front rooms. The smell of teak and the unusual atmosphere within the houses, had been spellbinding.
Altogether, it had been quaint times, spent at the village.
Twins who were not: The Pagodas of Laem Sor
They were at the southernmost tip of Koh Samui, at the end of Bang Kao Beach. Early, the day after their visit to Hua Thanon, they had travelled eleven kilometers from Lamai to visit the Laem Sor Pagoda, set in one of the most beautiful backdrops in Samui. The pagoda, built on Bang Kao Beach, was adorned in a golden hue and its radiance in the mid-morning sunlight, made for a picturesquely beautiful contrast to the Columbia-blue sky beyond and the turquoise sea behind. The entrance to the pagoda was guarded by two, giant Yak warrior statues with immense swords, colorful clothing and scary faces. Buddha stood in the doorway to the rear of the statues. This was a great photo spot for nothing absolutely obstructed the view and it all fit in one promising photograph.
Pagoda Khao Chedi, also called Laem Sor Pagoda, is situated in the hill above Bang Kao Beach. The identical reference to both the pagodas had confused Agal initially, but she learnt soon that, while the pagoda at the Beach was golden, its counterpart on the hill, was white. Khao is the Thai word for color white. The Pagoda Khao Chedi had been built in the Srivijaya style and offered spectacular panoramic views of mainland Surat Thani and Bang Kao Bay, all the way to Laem Set Point and the islands of Taen (Turtle island) and Mudsum upto the temple of Wat Laem Sor.
Before visiting the Pagodas, Agal, Rick and the children had been to Wat Laem Sor. It was a temple like no other they had seen, within or foreign to Thailand. The temple had been mounted astern a very large boat surrounded by a wide pool of water to make it look like a vessel in sea. In another part of the temple complex, a large palm tree very different to the look, could be seen.
A palm tree, growing along the ground, snake-like.
Now looking from the Pagoda Khao Chedi, the Wat had morphed into an impressive aerial sight: a large, beautiful, bright-blue boat, sailing amongst the coconut trees, two-hundred meters away from the sea. But the most impressive feature of the day was yet to come.
After a relaxed evening at Bang Kao Beach, the family had returned to the hilltop and set up hammocks. Evening was losing light rapidly and dusk began to stir. Lying in their hammocks, they watched, as if in a dream, the changing patterns of sunset, paint the twilight sky. One of Thailand’s most fabulous sunsets was being witnessed.
Silver Beach on Tongtakien Bay
After an exhilarating day at Bang Kao Bay, the family decided to pay a visit to Tongtakien Bay. This beautiful little bay is located just off the main road, coming down the hill into north Lamai from Chaweng. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, is an old saying we all know. But something new struck Agalvizhi after she had overcome the overwhelming effects of the bay at first sight: Beauty lies to the eye of the beholder.
Two eyes weren’t just enough to capture Nature of such stunning beauty. Crystal-blue waters and white sand, bordered by craggy limestone rock formations and verdant hills: the archetypal Thai beach. The vistas before Agal, made her awestruck heart prance around her thoracic cavity, threatening to leap out. After an excellent poolside dinner at the Samui Yacht Club Hotel on the Bay, they left for their villa at Laem Nan. Early next dawn, they checked out of the Silavadee, for a day at Western Samui before proceeding northwards.
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