Koh Samui

      For the first time in 2011 and for the second trip, 12 excited children travelled almost 1000 km down south to the island of Koh Samui to enjoy a 5 day holiday. Thanks to the generosity and time of Christoph Leonard, General Manager of Amari Palm Reef the 5 days were packed full with activities. 2 children from each house, 7 girls and 5 boys were chosen to go this year, their ages ranging from 7 – years to 19 years old. Palm and Tanee from the Jan and Oscar House, Dtow from St Patrick’s, Mae, Dtey and Tadum who is blind, from Sarnelli House, Mut and Wan Pen from Nazareth House, Apec and Jack  from House of Hope and Don Rac and Yoi from Viengkhuk.  Myself and Ms Jit the manager of the Jan and Oscar House accompanied them.  After an overnight train ride leaving at 6pm from Nongkhai to Bangkok where the kids found it impossible to settle down into their bunks until after 11pm due to an overload of excitement, we arrived in BKK. We were picked up by the Amari Watergate Hotel staff and taken there for breakfast, given two rooms to shower and change and then it was on to Siam Ocean World. Everyone enjoyed the shark feeding and all the amazing variety of marine life. After lunch back at the hotel we boarded the next night train to Surat Thani.


  The train toilets had been an unforeseen issue on the previous night for the littler children Apec and Jack in particular. The whizzing tracks could be seen from the top of the toilet, and the children immediately thought that a ghost would come up the toilet and eat them. They convinced themselves that they would not go near those toilets for the rest of the trip. As they were the only sort of toilets on the train they had little choice but to find a solution when the call of nature became too pressing. Going to the toilet in threes seemed to ameliorate the situation, one to stand guard outside the door presumably to call for help when the ghost arrived and two to go into the toilet together.

Palm, Tanee, Dtow and Wan-pen 

     For this second train trip the train was heavily booked and most of the bunks we had were top bunks.  Apec became the first and only one to fall from his bunk onto the floor in the middle of the night and go straight back to sleep again after a kind fellow passenger swapped his lower Bunk for Apec’s top bunk. Finally arriving at Surat Thani we were warmly welcomed by Chris who bundled us into 2 vans and drove us to the pier and from there we boarded the ferry to Koh Samui. Arriving at lunch time we were taken to the hotel’s beautiful Italian restaurant and pizza and pasta was wolfed down. That night we all went to Chris’ house and enjoyed a relaxing evening playing in the pool and hanging out with Chris.

Dining with Chris at KFC

      The next 5 days saw the children start the day off at the hotel’s beautiful buffet breakfast where they found an alternative to rice for breakfast and discovered chocolate cereal, croissants and pastries. After our daily breakfast we boarded 2 vans and learnt to play ten pin bowling, ride a banana boat, visit a safari park, kayak in the sea, play football mini golf, snorkel in the ocean and eat great food and lots of ice cream wherever we went. There was a hankering for the traditional Isaan food of som tam and grilled chicken and on the last night at Chris’ house the children got what they wished for and ate their full at their good bye party.

 Jack and friend

      One of the features of this year’s trips was for the older children to gain some work experience in the hotel. Palm and Tanee both in senior high school and Palm studying to be an electrician and Tanee studying computers spent an afternoon with the electrical and computer technicians in the hotel. Mut and Wan Pen spent an afternoon with the housekeeping staff and Wan Pen enjoyed it so much she asked to have another afternoon there. Tadum spent an afternoon with the girls working in the spa. All the teenagers thought this was a really worthwhile experience and it seemed to inspire and excite them to see other young people in good jobs.

      Finally the day to say goodbye arrived and it was sad to leave Koh Samui and the hospitality of Chris, the staff at Amari and all the people who helped show us all such a great time.      

      The trip back was surreal and everyone was a bit exhausted except of course Jack, Apec and Dtey. From the ferry and the van ride we boarded the first of the trains for the overnight trip to Bangkok. When we arrived in Bangkok we were picked up by the kind people of the Peninsula Hotel and treated to a great breakfast followed by a shower and change of clothes and then on to Dream World. The rest of the day was taken up with exciting rides and shows until the long trip back through the Bangkok traffic to the train station for the second train ride. Everyone was adept this time at finding their seat, storing their luggage and coping with the toilets on the last leg of the journey. There were many happy memories to think on and lots of wishing to be back in Koh Samui. Apec was adamant that we weren’t going home but going sightseeing again right up until the Sarnelli van  arrived at House of Hope.  

at Dream World 

     We would like to thank everyone who helped Chris make the holiday possible but especially to Chris himself who shared his home and his time with us all. 

Kate Introna

May 29 2011


Bullentin of Rotary Club of Koh Samui (Sarnelli House Story is on page 4) click here