Walking Tolkiens trails at Tanim Magic Garden
On the one side Koh Samui is an island of sun worshippers and bar hoppers occupying touristy Chaweng and Lamai beaches. On the other side it is the island of magic and mystery. You know all about the island’s mystery by now – this time I am going to bring you magic.
Today we visited Tanim Magic Garden hidden deep in the island’s hills. We got there pretty late, the sun was going down, the ticket booth had already closed, there was not a soul around. However, the tiny entrance gate stood open and drew us in as if by magic :)
Going down the steep steps we proceeded further down the hill until only little light shed through thickening shrubbery and tree crowns. Happy, smiling and ready to embrace any adventure, we came to a narrow stream that we decided to follow. Little we knew of what was awaiting.
After a while we noticed that we were not alone in the forest. We could make out silhouettes of human beings lying in the stream, turned to stone. Their feet were the last recognizable remains of their bodies. Hoping that they wouldn’t stand up we hurried on until…
…we stumbled upon a fish, who was not doing what fish were supposed to do but resting next to the stream. He said that we should beware of the music played by elves to lure their victims. Puzzled, we listened to the fish’s story. He recalled how he followed the elves’ music out of water but could not return as the elves had already turned him to rock.
Looking around I noticed that the same fate had struck other animals.
The turtle was over 200 years old and the last victim of the elves who found new grounds for pranks in human beings.
Vowing to return I turned to Tomek who was obviously going the wrong way following faint tunes coming from the forest. I followed him but was in fact led by the sweet melody. Eventually I arrived at a round place, which was big and bright. Curiously, I peeked through the bushes. Pointed ears, fragile bodies, decorative garments and headdress – it was the elves!
I could see that the music came from one elf playing the flute, which filled the air, surrounded by many little elves dancing, extending their feet, arms and hands in the strangest manner – next to Tomek who performed in the same fashion.
I was convinced to find master Frodo and his hobbit friends taking some time off at Koh Samui’s secret hills. But instead there were elf like creatures that had Tomek under their spell.
I covered my ears and ran… into a huge bird who was wrestling with a worm. At least that’s what I thought. The worm turned out to be a snake. How to free Tomek and escape the snake was my only thought. Luckily, the bird knew it all, taming the snake and explaining elves’ rituals to me.
Not before long the music ceased and we were invited by the elves, relieved to watch from a safe distance on thrones carved out of stone.
Time went too fast and we had to go as it grew darker and darker in the forest. Thanking the elves for a spellbound performance we were ready to leave the elves and their magic garden. Walking past little elf thrones and majestic trees…
…passing beautiful waterfalls… we eventually got lost.
Looking for help we approached an odd house which was overgrown with jungle vegetation and abandoned.
Suddenly a big figure emerged out of the thicket.
This friendly island creature had been guarding the world of elves for centuries. After listening to our story, convinced that the elves had foreseen another fate for us than being stony captives for the rest of our times, he was going to help us out of the magic garden.
As we reached the stream, the paths grew bigger and more familiar, until we finally reached the stairs which connected to the outside world!
A very magic experience, Tomek not remembering any of his elf dance any more, is actually a creation of the local fruit farmer Nim Thongsuk who began to build the garden in 1976. Nim Thongsuk build a tomb at the site and he and his wife are buried here. The garden is named Tanim Magic Garden – ‘Ta’ meaning grandfather. Grandfather Nim build those empty houses for monks, so they could rest at this beautiful spot.
Remember to stay on the well trodden paths when visiting the island and earplugs when visiting the Magic Garden :)