My Tropical island commute
After living and working solely on Koh Pha Ngan island for over 15 years I found myself commuting between the city type tropical island of Koh Samui and the rustic nature of Koh Pha Ngan. (KPG)
I first landed on KPG in 1986 and found mostly dirt roads, coconut farmers and fishermen with family run simple beach bungalows on beautiful coconut tree filled tropical beaches. The life was slow and steady with a lot of emphasis on a simple life. Up early in the mornings and get the hard work done before the heat of the day, ‘taking it easy’ during the day with some more outdoor work as the sun goes down. Slow meals – ‘grazing Thai style’ were the norm. This simple life kept me coming back year after year.
Eventually I was talked into retiring from my ‘ health care profession’ and taking over managing The Sanctuary Thailand resort -then a very chilled hippie hang out with an emphasis on the good life- Yoga, detox, wellness, massage, alternative ( as it was on those days) healing such as Reiki, Shiatsu, energy body work. It was a fantastic time to be on this remote beach called Had Tien where access was by boat only – or you walked for 2 hours over a mountain. It was a wonderful lifestyle but an unsustainable business so we started to spread the word that there was a place to escape the challenges of the world, to reconnect with yourself and to experience life. There I stayed and with an amazing crew of wonderful people allowed Sanctuary to become what it is today, a unique wellness holiday destination, away from the maddening crowds.
I was lucky enough to meet my wife and to have an beautiful daughter who ran around care ( and shoe ) free on Had Tien beach for her early years. Eventually though education needs became serious and we were forced to seek quality secondary education on Koh Samui. I had been shopping on Samui many times as it grew into a touristic city type island with international wholesalers/ chain stores/ shopping malls and 7/11 on every corner.
We went to Samui and set up a family home, got our daughter settled into an excellent school and thus my weekly commute began. It was this weekly switch from rustic jungle clad KPG to busy, traffic snarl , dusty and noisy Koh Samui. My Friday journey home to my family is a funny one really – After getting a boat from the beautiful remote beach that’s home to The Sanctuary – I sit for an hour on the Had Rin Queen ferry boat looking at the waves and really feeling the calm bubble I have been in for the past 5 days . On arrival at Koh Samui I get in my truck and am instantly brought into immediate awareness of the 100’s of untrained tourists on scooters with no crash helmets dodging around the snarled traffic – with a death wish – hurrying to God knows where. It really is bonkers. I drive for an hour to get home and can then breathe a sigh of relief that I’m home in my happy space with my family. Don’t get me wrong – Koh Samui is a beautiful island, with lots of attractions for the touristic minded traveler. Big hotel chains, Hard Rock Café, Starbucks and ..and …all have a presence. Big department stores and shop houses, cinemas, bars, night clubs and world class beaches. For some it offers an ideal balance for a tropical holiday.
For me though is just not the calm, chilled tropical island that Kha Pha Ngan was and remains today. Yes KPG has developed , it now has many 7/11( not Had Tien ;-) , and is infamous for its full moon party, half moon party, even black moon party , J . Its also renowned as a Yoga paradise with many yoga centers opened up in recent years. With these are lovely Vegetarian cafes and restaurants. All of whichI feel took their inspiration and lead from the roots that The Sanctuary sowed in 1991.
The Sanctuary journey has been an evolutionary one with Yoga holiday or immersion programs, Wellness & Detox programs, a resident Chinese medicine doctor, Tok Sen Thai Tapping and Chi Ni San , Reike, Ayurveda and much more on offer . Sanctuary has built a unique healing space, an escape from the maddening world, a place to renew and refresh, where there is time to catch up with yourself and recharge yourself to enable you to, once again, take on the challenges of the chaotic world we live in.
With a relaxing Tree House Spa to tempt you from your beach front hammock. The Sanctuary Thailand resort strives to offer a little bit for everyone. a respected Vegetarian, Vegan & Raw menu is enhances by a select seafood offering , the healthy shakes are strengthening but ,its OK to have an ice cold beer or glass of fine wine at the end of a perfect day. Life is about balance and I think Sanctuary offers just that. I invite you to come and enjoy your Sanctuary experience.