By RAMA GAIND
The Seatran Ferry quickly picked up speed leaving the terminal from Donsak as I watched the soaring white statue of Buddha fast disappearing behind us, crossing the Gulf of Thailand, to Koh Samui.
The vessel glided across the waters heading for Thailand’s third largest island with a population of 50,000 and an area of 228.7sqkm. The journey was just over 105 minutes.
The eyes on the horizon revealed, in the distance, cliffs around the sea featuring a growing warren of buildings of every size and description. Among them were resorts with distinctive five-star furnishings, exquisite cuisine and matchless views that took your breath away.
One such destination, Hansar Samui, just 10 minutes from the airport offered the true essence of Thai hospitality. A stunning 74-room beachfront property, it is truly a cool oasis in the centre of a tropical stretch of golden sands and turquoise waters of Koh Samui’s upmarket Bophat Bay.
The location is superb and centre stage is the shimmering, infinity-edge saltwater swimming pool, just a few steps from the beach. Tranquil surrounds. Wow!
It’s aptly named: Hansar is from Sanskrit and means happiness and joy. The concept, philosophy, location and service are a perfect fit aimed at ensuring that guests have a happy, enjoyable and memorable sojourn. Hansar Samui is about living life in full colour and finding joy in every moment.
After the check-in formalities were over, another surprise was in store being escorted to my spacious room. The accommodation provided a front row seat to the idyllic island life as every room had unobstructed sea views and private balconies.
Chic custom furnishings and amenities balance the design’s natural touches with a modern flair. Walk-in rain showers and free-standing tubs were additional highlights of the Hansar Samui experience.
Feeling refreshed, the time was right to partake of canapés and sunset cocktails at the elevated Chill Lounge before ending the day at the resort’s signature restaurant – H Bistro. Here it was a delectable evening as executive chef Stephen Dion showcased his French Mediterranean culinary specialties in addition to some Thai delicacies.
He creates a unique and memorable epicurean experience for resort guests where they can appreciate the authentic tastes.
Carefully selected fresh Maine lobsters and oysters are flown from Canada, Japan and France. The menu is complemented by a hand-picked list of international wines and champagnes, reflecting the resort’s commitment to creating a truly epicurean experience.
An array of dishes including turbot and pork were delicious, but it was the desserts that appealed to all: pineapple ravioli, pistachio crème brulee, warm chocolate-melted cake with vanilla ice cream, cheese cake and pannacotta. Divine!
Compliments were flowing thick and fast for Stephen.
Nothing but the best will do for Hansar Samui. General manager Indra Budiman, displayed a passionate enthusiasm for Hansar hospitality, elaborating on the wide range of activities, both in the resort and around the island.
Mr Budiman, with extensive experience in the hospitality industry spanning 18 years, pointed out that Stephen Dion focused on combining the right array of simple textures and flavours with the finest ingredients which were sourced worldwide, while still ensuring value-for-money.
It was at his suggestion that our group was taken on an escorted sightseeing tour. It takes about two hours to drive around the island, with the north and east coast ideal for swimming; it was well worth the trip.
Highlights included a visit to see the 15m high Big Buddha; beautiful, long white sand Chaweng beach; scenic point at Kao Hua Jook Pagoda; Lad Koh, a lookout point with spectacular views; and no visit is complete unless you go to Lamai Beach to see the grandfather and grandmother rocks. Amazing work from mother nature!
A leisurely stroll down the quaint cobblestone ‘walking street’ adjacent to the resort, is the vibrant Fisherman’s Village, with its antique wooden shopfronts, chic cafes and atmospheric seaside bars including the Bondi Aussie Bar & Grill.
Going to the Friday night market, strolling down the Fisherman’s Village walking street was not only a chance to meet fellow Indians, but also an opportunity to pick up some wonderful souvenirs.
Walked into the Samui Armani store and Jeet Bahadur, owner/tailor of Samui Armani store, was assisted by his nephew Tej Bahadur. Owner of the Kohinoor Indian Restaurant, K.P. Pandey, was busy serving customers with help from nephew Bimlesh Kumar, Jyoti from Burma and Gopal Mahato.
The evening came to a nostalgic end with dinner at Krua Bophut where a mixed selection of songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s – from such artists as Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, the Carpenters and Frank Sinatra – brought many happy memories hurtling back.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the Luksa Sumui spa experience – it’s invigorating!
Luksa (Sanskrit for ‘healing – health through water’) combines ancient Thai healing methods based on the four body elements of earth, water, air and fire. These need to be balanced throughout life.
A comprehensive massage is revitalising, having energy and flexibility restored to your body is extraordinary and a feeling of wellbeing is overwhelming.
It’s a pleasurable haven – and that’s not just for the senses!
Rama Gaind was a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand with accommodation in Koh Samui hosted by Hansar Samui.
101/28 Moo 1, Bo Phut
Telephone: +66 77 245 511
Visit the website at http://www.hansarsamui.com/
Contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Sydney, on (02) 9247 7549 or visit www.tourismthailand.org
Fast facts, visit: http://www.tourismthailand.org/about-thailand/
Thai Airways International flies 42 flights a week between Australia and Thailand
with easy connections to Thai’s domestic network; twice daily from Sydney and
Melbourne, daily from Brisbane and seven-a-week from Perth (including three non-stops to Phuket). Connections are also available with Bangkok Airways domestic network.
Check out: www.thaiairways.com.au