Operation Conrad – Discovering The Forbidden Beach pt.1

Conrad 8 km —>. There were no other descriptions. Conrad 4.7 km <—– I followed. Conrad 1.7km ^^^ and a guard stood on my way.

“Where are you going” he inquired.

“Just looking around…” I replied. “To ‘Conrad’?” That probably shouldn’t have been a question, but he radioed it in, let me through the gate and I was on my way. Suddenly, he stops me.

“Be careful, it is very dangerous” he warned me.

I had no idea what a ‘Conrad’ was. What did I get myself into.

On my second day in the island of Koh Samui, I realized that the busy Chaweng Beach was not for me. Everyone and their mama had recommended it to me. The water was not bad and the atmosphere was not too booming since it is the rainy season. However, with its thousands of visitors and dozens of shops and bars, I wanted to explore what else the island had to offer. My type of beach is not one with a huge party, but a small calm oasis with not too many people. While I appreciated the recommendation, I had to pass.

I mounted my Iron-X Camera (it’s like a Go-Pro at less than half the price) on a rental scooter and decided to take a time-lapse around the entire 30-50 kilometers of the island to see what I would find. By two I had seen the main waterfalls and was ready for something more adventerous. When I saw a sign that said ‘Conrad,’ I just had to follow it, despite having no idea what it was.

There I was, 1.7 km away and ascending a steep, but hardly dangerous hill. When I got to about 0.5km from ‘Conrad,’ I reached another checkpoint where a guard told me to park and instructed me to walk the rest of the way. A family of Chinese people got off from a van too. Maybe this was a temple of sorts in the mountains?

The Five Islands off of Koh Samui, Thailand.
The Five Islands off of Koh Samui, Thailand.

Then I arrived at the Conrad Resort, one of, if not THE fanciest hotel in all of Samui. I didn’t want it to be too obvious that I had absolutely no money…I mean intention to stay here, so I decided to ask about the rates anyways. An incredibly nice host named Tom explained that rates start in the 20,000 Baht range, but that I should check online for the most up to date prices.

[For the purposes of this article, I did look and it starts from 23,000 to 31,000 depending on the dates. That is 720-970 USD PER NIGHT!]

Tom probably realized that I had no intention of staying, so he started chatting about my camera and other small talk. He then showed me the object of my obsession for days to come. The Beach!

This was like no beach I had ever seen. Two lonely hammocks and a handful of sun umbrellas laid on what looked like a coral wonderland. In the distance, you could see what are known as the “Five Islands” glowing with the falling sun. At the bottom of the cliff (oh, we were on a cliff by the way), bright tealsea with calm waves adorned something you would likely see in movies and say “that’s some great CGI.” I assure you, it exists, and I was determined to find a way in.

Secret Beach, except if you fork out the cash to stay at the Conrad Resort.
Secret Beach, except if you fork out the cash to stay at the Conrad Resort.

[Part 2 will detail my quest to find the forbidden beach and whether or not I reached it.]

Julio Moreno
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