The Tongsai Bay, a spot on Koh Samui where trees are not felled, no insecticides or chemical fertilisers are used in the green hotel grounds and humans are kind to animals.
After a tour of the resort and delicious meal, the Hotel Manager Mark Harrison took me to The Tongsai Bay’s organic garden with his colleagues Mai and Yum, where we joined head gardener Sutin for a walk around the various sections of the garden and the projects they manage.
Mai and Yum work closely with the gardeners, recycling project and training team, also sourcing fresh herbs here for use at the Spa. Mai is also involved with the cooking classes offered at the resort. The garden is a labour of love where vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit are nourished. The kitchen waste is composted and cleaning materials are produced. The resort is completely chemical free.
Some of the projects the are involved with include:
– Protection of animals and plants. There are 60 different kinds of birds on this side of the island, including the resident pink-necked Pigeon. Their strict policy is that no animal be hurt by a staff, I was even told that it is grounds for instant dismissal. Their conservation and peaceful co-existence is insisted upon.
– The Tongsai Bay supports the local Dog Rescue Center, a place I’d like to visit. Founded by a group of animal lovers in 1999, they care for, neuter and feed countless stray dogs and cats on Samui.
– The Tongsai Bay is a Green Leaf accredited Resort and has a full-time Green Projects Manager Khun Jul who trains, educates and develops green systems for garbage management and recycling, the production of non-chemical cleaning products and energy saving.
– The Tongsai Bay contributes to the local community and is aligned to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, The 7 Green Concepts, The Green Island Foundation – Koh Samut and The Low Carbon School Project.
– Since opening in 1987, the resort has protected the large pre-existing trees in the area and has a policy not to cut any trees down, actually planting continuously. Even when the pools were added, the trees were removed from there and successfully relocated to other parts of the resort.
There’s a sense of ancient forest when you walk up the hillside, a mutual respect from the green giants that have watched the changes over the years.
– Waste Management policies have garbage separated into each category (metal, glass, paper, plastic, hazardous material) and leftover food, leaves and branches sent to the organic garden to be made into fertilizers. Reduce garbage by using the reusable material. Only bio-degradable plastic bags and straws are used.
– Energy Saving is supported with numerous things, the most ingenious being the water heating tank which is linked to the air conditioner, condensing for the heat exchange.
– Support local, an authentic approach to social responsibility through engagement with local children, garbage management awareness at Ban Plai Lam School, learning about local trees and planting trees in the resort and ongoing training.
– They are always giving back through social responsibility at the schools, local hospital and elsewhere.
The Tongsai Bay recognises that Koh Samui’s most valuable commodity is the nature which has to be protected in order to maintain itself as one of the country’s top destinations.
After our walk around the garden, we stopped at the workstation for a glass of chilled water and last look around, before heading back to the resort. The mosquitoes had been hungry and I must have had at least 20 bites as evidence of my time on this protected patch of fertile land where man, creature and vegetation coexist in harmony. Nothing that magic Tiger Balm couldn’t fix though.