When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


Ko Samui

We visited Ko Samui (which is Thailand's second largest island) in August of 2015.
Arriving at the airport

Tongsai Bay entrance (looking out)

 When we arrived, the first thing the kids noticed was the fleet of golf carts.  After looking at the map of the property, we understood why there were so many...

The Tongsai Bay is a collection of properties, mostly separate, villa-type structures, built into the mountainside rainforest.  While there were many lovely footpaths, the quickest way to travel was via the golf carts.  The kids were immediately in love with the place.

We hopped onto a cart and travelled up, up, up for what seemed like ages, arriving at the base of a steep staircase.  The steps branched off to the left and to the right, zig zagging back toward the center.    We had two villas separated by a wall.  Again, the kids loved it because they felt like they had their own place (the older ones anyway - Caleb stayed with us).  When it was nighttime, Aaron and I split up to make sure an adult was in each room, but during a day, when we were taking a break from the sun, the kids were allowed to stay in their own space and watch movies.  What a life!
I'm not kidding when I say there were a lot of steep stairs leading to our room!  Someone got a little tired.

View of the bay from our front porch/balcony

The very, very best things about the rooms were the outdoor bathtubs.  They sat on the front porches facing the ocean.  "Porch" might be the wrong word.  It was more like a room missing the wall that faced the ocean, and because we were so high up the mountain, we couldn't be seen from the road.  We filled them with warm water and sprinkled flowers on top.  There were also huge clay jars containing bubble bath on the ledge by the towels.  Can you say paradise??

We settled in and journeyed down the mountain all the way to the bay.

The "beach" consisted of small, very smooth pebbles (somewhere between the size of a pea and a bb pellet - can you tell I'm from Kentucky?).  It was an amazing sensory experience just to walk through the tiny balls and hear the click, click as they moved around our toes.  There was a two-seater sea kayak pulled ashore, and Aaron and I took turns paddling the kids around the bay.

On one side of the bay, there was a really neat rock structure we explored, looking for fossils and pirate caves.

Just beyond the beach was a paved area with a bridge separating two pools.  In the shallow pool, a tall, hut-like structure sat in the middle of the water, providing shade from the white-hot sun.  I sat under there watching Caleb paddle around in his flotation vest while the big kids made friends, hanging from the bridge and venturing into the deeper waters.

In the morning, the kids got a big kick out of calling for our ride and zipping down the hill to the main cabin for breakfast.  My what a spread!  Every food imaginable: pancakes and eggs, and rice and noodles, and vegetables and exotic fruits, smoothies and soups, you name it, they had it.  We ate and ate and ate!

Aaron had a chance to take a Thai cooking class.  He gathered the ingredients from the on-site gardens and created some absolutely delicious dishes.  

Meanwhile the kids and I hung out at the pool providing a public service announcement for any passers-by about the long-term effects of intimacy. We built forts out of lounge chair cushions, swam,  ran and ran and ran, and finally had lunch.

Our trip was not very long, but we did manage a few outings.  We visited the Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai) which is a 39 foot-tall, gold-painted Buddha.  It was surrounded by a marketplace (where Maddie purchased her favorite "rainbow" dress).  I think the most interesting feature was the staircase leading up the the statue.  The rails were giant colorful snakes!  I don't know how to describe this place except to say that it was vibrant.  The statues, if not painted gold, were painted other bright, bold colors.  We saw tiles of every hue, smelled fragrant incense floating in the air, and of course, the kids couldn't wait to leave.  Why do we have to visit another temple?

Oh great, mom, more steps!

Snake rails

One evening we had dinner at an Italian place called Pepenero (because when in Thailand...)  I was wondering about the selection.  Silly me!  Of course, Aaron had done his homework, and this place was incredible.  The building itself was tiny (we sat out on the porch at the only table big enough to seat our family), but the food was to die for.  We chatted with the Italian owner while his son and Parker headed down the road to an empty lot to play soccer.  I swear that kid's never met a stranger.

We spent most of our time on the beach or at the pool or in the tub.  It was an all-around fabulous trip, and we were blessed to have gone there.  So long, Ko Samui!

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