Stayed: The Tongsai Bay Samui
Words: Jeremie Schatz
Photos: The Tongsai Bay
The Tongsai Bay resort has a unique story and as such, is a unique property. The characteristics of the location, the architecture, and the philosophy maintained by the owners all intertwine to create a space that is as much a sanctuary as it is a luxury getaway.
It began back in the days in Koh Samui before frantic land grabs and the booming tourist industry. In 1985 Akorn Hoontrakul glimpsed the small bay from a distance aboard a sail boat. Something about the beauty of this particular spot spoke to him and a week later he purchased the land encompassing the bay. During the following three months, he slept on the beach dreaming and planning the layout for what became the Tongsai Bay. As a result of Akorn’s appreciation for the natural environment, he carefully planned and constructed the resort without cutting down any trees and with minimal impact to the land.
The result isan 83-room property spanning more than 28 acres sprawled across the hillside above the bay. It was the first 5-star luxury resort in Koh Samui. Now, 32 years later, it is owned and managed by Akorn’s son and daughter-in-law who passionately preserve the environment ethics infused into the business.
It’s nearly impossible to not fall in love with this place. Every room has a sea view and all, except eight ground floor beachfront suites, which have outdoor bathtubs. Eleven styles of suites, cottages, and villas can accommodate couples and groups can ride throughout the winding paths on an electric buggy but many choose to walk.
Rooms offer the best modern amenities while preserving the natural feel with lots of wood and earthy colours. Some villas are floored with gargantuan thick planks of recycled timber not found in newer buildings. Views from almost everywhere in the resort are phenomenal.
A recently completed project has resulted in 15 additional seafront and private pool villas. In keeping with the nature-loving theme, these villas boast terraces as big as the villas themselves. Once again, these projects were carried out with careful thought and planning to minimise impact to the surrounding environment.
Strolling around the resort you will find flora with identifying labels, as well as abundant birds and wildlife. In fact, the resort is so committed to protecting nature that stuff will be promptly fired if they are caught killing or harming any animals. Apparently this isn’t a problem as there is a long list of employees who have been at Tongsai Bay for more than 20 years and several more since the very beginning.
The resort also operates a substantial organic garden offsite where all leftover food is composted and used as fertilizer. Thai cooking classes are offered and participants are brought to the gardens where herbs and vegetables are harvested for use. No chemical insecticides are used in the garden and even all of the cleaning products used around the resort are biodegradable.
The Tongsai Bay has a long-lasting reputation as one of the most beautiful and well-intentioned resorts on Koh Samui. Many guests end up returning year after year. Come experience it for yourself and you might too.
84 Moo 5, Bophut, Koh Samui +66 (0) 77 913 750-99