Secret Garden surely must evoke memories from most people’s childhood, and here on Koh Samui we have the most striking secret Buddha garden there is. Way back in 1976, a retired farmer by the name of Khun Nim, after years farming Durian, the pungent South East Asian fruit, decided one day to design the most amazing garden on Samui.
The secret garden, his hidden away from prying eyes, tucked into the hills of Samui’s interior, and closely guarding the most unusual trove of statues that one may ever see. The garden is surrounded by lush green tropical rain forest, right in the heart of the island, and hosts some of the most spectacular views across the place.
500 metres above sea level, where the airs is clearer and much cooler, giving the sightseer time to breath and unwind a little, The secret garden, also known as the Magic Garden or Tarmin Magic Garden is accessible by road, but it is a rocky one and a 4 by 4 jeep is recommended to get there.
Khun Nim Thongsuk was 77 years old when he had the idea to create such a spectacular place, it is said that he built the garden all by himself, but we have found also that he may have had some help from relatives. He worked in the gardens up until his death at the age of 91 years young.
During his year working as a durian farmer, Khun Nim was known for his innovative techniques, he helped Samui become famous for this prized and smelly fruit. When he retired he decided to open up his home and land to all, where he had many figures and statues sculptured and representing mainly Buddhist folklore. Each statue has its own story, and the locals all know the meaning and mythology behind these haunting works of art.
The garden is full of statues of animals, gods and demons. The hill-top setting and the tranquil river flowing through it, give the garden a very soothing and mystical feeling. And it is a wonderful place to come and cool down and maybe even ponder on life’s great mysteries. There are many statues of Buddha, there are also birds and many other forms of animals, like snakes dragons depicted here in statue form.
There is a very poignant statue, which is of the khun Nim’s parents, and another of him holding hands with his father. The main section holding other important statues relative to this beautifully preserved garden are of angels, also a small band of musicians. There is a small stream running through the site and also there is a beautiful little waterfall, it really is quite an idyllic place to visit.
Secret Buddha Garden, is the kind of place where each visit will bring new discoveries, it is like studying some piece of art work, each time you look at it, you find something else to admire. With so many places to explore, one visit here is never enough and the calming influence it has on your being, is well worth the trip up into the hills.
Drive down the air force road which leads up to Ta Nim Waterfall. The road turns into a dirt track for the last 400 metres or so. It is well signposted so you won’t get lost. Take your camera and go and enjoy one o the most amazing sites you will see on Samui, and let’s see if it takes you back to that secret garden you knew as child yourself.