The Secret Garden… Koh Samui Island. Thailandfeatured

 Koh Samui Island. Thailand

 

Koh Samui…The Secret Garden.

On our very first visit to Thailand in 2002 many years ago now with our two young grandsons, we visited this lovely Island of Koh Samui. A beautiful island and where I first fell in love with Thailand. At that time, never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would be living that dream.

 

A palm-fringed beach on Koh Samui

 

Here I am in 2018 and living that dream…

Out exploring the island one day we saw a sign which said: ” Secret Garden” It piqued my curiosity as when we were driving in England we saw a similar sign which said, ” Secret Bunker”… so seeing this made me smile at that memory as that also was a day to remember and not what we expected.

Would this ” Secret Garden” be the same?

An unexpected delight?…

Buddha among the trees

At the sign we took the turning and was it a steep hill…we slowly made our way upwards, the uneven road presented us with sheer drops either side and the road was barely one car wide…

Yikes if we meet anything coming the other way and thank goodness the only vehicle we did meet was a motorcycle and luckily it was able to edge its way past us and away it went.

My son was driving and does not like heights at the best of times and was a tad nervous. I think we were all relieved when we spied a restaurant and were able to pull into its small car park…we were presented with the most amazing views and then came the food which was awesome…just delicious.

Enquiring about the “Secret Garden” the restaurant staff pointed upwards with a big smile… Really?…at that point, it was unanimous to leave the truck and walk!

We walked and walked and all we saw was the occasional bike which passed us going the other way…Down!

The noises which we heard were quite magnified and sounded like a chainsaw…well that was the story I told my open-mouthed grandsons although it did make them walk a little quicker …haha. It was only later that I discovered they were Cicadas and due to the acoustics on the mountain when they rubbed their wings together in unison they did sound like a chainsaw.

Suddenly the road plateaued out…We were at the top…

Thirsty and worn out…Our first view was a small shop selling water and a group of bemused locals were watching us and laughing probably thinking  ” mad Farangs” walking in this heat up the mountain. At that point, I was happy to agree with them…

Looking around we spied a lone kiosk

No secret garden?…

I had this mental picture of pretty flowers…orchids and a statue or two… There was nothing like that in sight!

Walking over to the kiosk we paid for our tickets…well we were here so we may as well have a look…

Where is this garden? The smiling woman pointed to some steps…from where I was standing they looked wooden and slightly rickety…Oh No! My legs could not take any more…

Down and down we went… That first glimpse of this “Secret Garden” was amazing..statues carved out of stone, a tiny house, little streams and miniature waterfalls trickling and running through the middle of this garden, a small amphitheatre, all among the trees which were growing on the mountainside…Not a flower insight…

Carved from stone ..the musicians

Did it matter? Not at all…This was magical and a memory which has stayed with me over the years…

A beautiful little stone house carved from the rocks

My research since then has told me that an old Durian Fruit Farmer in 1976 at the grand old age of 77 started to fulfil his life’s ambition and carved all these wonderful statues which he had seen in his dreams and he created them to honour Buddha.

The statues depict a number of animals, deities and humans in various poses, including one of the man himself Khun Nim in a relaxed position sitting on a rock. Khun Nim continued to work developing his garden until his death at the age of 91.

The garden is now cared for by his relatives.

Sunlight glistening through the trees..magical

This also reinforces to me that…

“You can dare to dream” and that dreams do come true…albeit you have to work hard and you must have that will and determination to make it happen just like this old Durian farmer called Uncle(Khun) Nim did.

We visited this magical place which was way off the beaten track back in 2002 so a few years ago now and the road is no longer open to the public but only to experienced 4 x 4 drivers. But, local tour firms offer day trips up the mountain.

The new road lies directly opposite the temple Wat Khunaram near Lamai and the road leads you through some very steep hills to the Secret Garden. It is also now known locally as the Magic or Buddha garden and magical it certainly was for me.

A beautiful magical garden which I hope to revisit one day… I have never forgotten my visit to the Secret Garden and it has been the subject of a presentation I did for work. A short story I wrote in the Phuket Writers Anthology and a lovely memory for me which I am now sharing with you… If you ever get the chance to visit I am sure it will not disappoint. I hope you are left with that same magical feeling which I experienced.

Now if you have forgotten anything or wish to take a memento home then I have handpicked some goodies for you…

 Koh Samui Island. Thailand

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About the author

Carolcooks

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them. I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling. Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing. I will be showing you cooking pots and dishes used here and local traditionst hat I discover on my travel and interesting places to visit. I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to.......Then, I will be happy!

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