Operation Conrad: Quest to the Forbidden Beach pt.2

If you didn’t read pt.1 of this post, it details how I found the forbidden beach. Might want to read that first.

 

July 16th

Immediately after seeing how beautiful this beach was, I was determined to find it (obsessed was more like it). The task however would prove harder than I imagined.

I headed down the way I came from the Conrad Resort and tried to use my powers of geography to roughly estimate where to go. I could feel I was getting closer but some obstacles came about: A dark road uphill. Dirt roads that are probably hiking trails and not roads at all. Private roads with obvious “no entry” signs which I couldn’t ignore.  Finally, my quest lead me to a spot I nicknamed “Seashell Beach” due to its insane amounts of seashells covering most of it. It looked like this used to be a coral reef… another clue!

A coral reef once stood here!
A coral reef once stood here!

I met a single Thai guy selling drinks and after buying one, asked if I could rent the kayaks sitting by the side.

“Those are for customers of that hotel only,” he pointed.

Looks like I can’t kayak in. After jumping a small stream, I realized that if I made it to the other side of the shore, I could follow the wall to the Conrad Beach (secret beach / forbidden beach, it’s all the same). This, at least, was the theory, given the topographical map in my head.

Across seashell beach

I tried to find a way to get there without a kayak, but came across a river. My choices were to swim, or steal a kayak. With the sun winding down and my swimming skills questionable, I decided to return home, in utter defeat.

River between the rocks

 

July 17th

The next day I went to Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park and while the kayaking wasn’t bad, and the hiking superb, the snorkeling was just terrible. The water was really dark and you were only allowed to snorkel in a tiny, obviously overused area.

There was this awesome emerald lake in the park which was worth the short hike.
There was this awesome emerald lake in the park which was worth the short hike.

“I bet the water is crystal clear in front of the Conrad,” I thought to myself. I was determined to give it a second shot.

The views were quite nice, but the water is murky in the rainy season.
The views were quite nice, but the water is murky in the rainy season.

 

July 18th

Two days after the initial discovery, I was on a quest. I set out early in the morning, but actually had such a good ride, I accidentally drove around the entire island of Samui. I realized this when I ended up not far from where I started, and while precious time was wasted, it was one amazing ride.

“Focus Julio, focus!” I told myself, on the second loop around. “It is now or never.”

The Weather Channel predicted rain, but what did they know. It was sunny as could be. I got back to Seashell Beach and thought about it logically. After spotting a motorbike on the other side, I was sure there was a way around.

After a few dead ends and private roads. I was ready to give the swimming idea a try. On the last road though, I found a way to the other side of the river! I was so excited that I almost crashed as I rolled up into a patch of sand.

Fishing loot - Koh Samui Conrad
The catch of the day

After parking, I met some fishermen who were excited and surprised to see me. They showed me their loot of the day and after a few minutes, we parted ways. Ahead of me lay a ton of large rocks which lead to a path around the corner of Seashell Beach. I figured the forbidden beach must be a couple of meters after the corner, not much more.

I make it to the end… more rocks, make another corner, more rocks. Was my geography that off? Eventually I made it to a stone wall that protruded out like the ridge of a tiny canyon. I had to either do a little rock climbing or forget the whole thing. “It is just on the other side” I told myself. I am not a huge hiker and have never been rock climbing, so to me, this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

After reaching the other side, I laid my eyes on… MORE ROCKS! I turned two more corners of rocks and was about to turn around when I remembered a quote often attributed to Mark Twain, Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didnt do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I pushed on.

After a total of about 45 minutes, I saw a building around the corner.

Conrad Resort Koh Samui - forbidden beach

Immediately, I recognized the incredibly expensive cliff condos and arrived at one of the most beautiful beaches I had ever seen. The hammocks I saw from above laid gently over the water without a soul in sight. It was time to act like I belonged.

You can see my stuff in the distance next to the kayaks.
You can see my stuff in the distance next to the kayaks.

I put my stuff down on one of the nearby benches and looked around to see if any staff was nearby. I only spotted three other guests swimming in the nearby infinity pool.

Beautiful hammocks lay over crystal clear water.
Beautiful hammocks lay over crystal clear water.

“Thousands of miles from home and in a paradise beach, but people still prefer the pool,” I snickered before I realized karma might bite me in the butt and I could be promptly escorted out. However, when the first staff showed up, I got a very kind “sawadeekap” and other others asked me if I needed everything. The chameleon effect was complete.

Laid on the hammocks of course.
Laid on the hammocks of course.

I took pictures, relaxed in the hammock and pretty much, enjoyed a masterful forbidden beach all to myself. In all this time, no other guest showed up, which was great for me as it would be weird when I leave, not to my room, but to the far side of the resort limits to get back to my $7 a night room in the middle of nowhere.

One more view of those hammocks
One more view of those hammocks

After about an hour, I headed back and was caught by a monumental storm. The rock climbing proved to be far more difficult in the rain and while I did scratch my toes a couple of times, it was totally worth it.

The storm rolling in.
The storm rolling in.

I did manage to shoot a nice step by step video on how to get to this beach which will be pt.3 of this series, so stay tuned and study it if you ever make it to Koh Samui.

According to some sources which I am having trouble confirming, Thai law actually prohibits the privatization of beaches making this completely legal, but I wouldn’t push my luck attempting this with more than one other person. It might look mighty suspicious if a whole group comes around the corner and just starts hanging out on the hammocks.

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Julio Moreno

Julio is a California native who has lived abroad since 2009 as an expat in South Korea and New Zealand. He is especially passionate about experiencing other cultures and visiting as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible.
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