Weekly Journal

The Castle of Dreams: For writers and artists alike

25th May 2017

The highlight of my year so far has to be the day I was offered a key to The Content Castle. After learning that I was accepted as a resident, I packed my bags and headed for Samui without a clue of what to expect. It was my first voyage to Thailand’s islands, so naturally, I was cautious about living there. Based on social media and online horror stories, I perceived Samui to be rife with young 20-something tourists, who would make me feel like an old grandmother in comparison. I expected armies of backpackers and groups in their matching lads-on-tour uniform, the task of separating them from their vodka buckets as challenging as severing an appendage.

After a few weeks here, I stand corrected.

I’ve lived in Thailand for around six months. During that time, I grew accustomed to cold outdoor showers, roof rats and bugs of all variety. The Castle in comparison is my own little slice of luxury in paradise. I sleep in a private room, there are three heated showers and on top of that, I get to write in a beautifully-designed home surrounded by awesome, like-minded writers and artists. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to call home for the last few weeks.

Loving life.

The Castle’s location, in quaint Hua Thanon, is walking distance to 7/11, a mini-Tesco, unique coffee shops, and a fresh local market (where you can indulge in tasty Thai treats). Better yet, there’s a shining beacon of light down the road in Makro, an international supermarket, only a five-minute songthaew drive away. The experience there is beyond wonderful.

Allow me to paint a picture of the godliness that is Makro. First, imagine a gigantic toy shop, one so massive that if you explored every aisle you’d fail to track time. Now, fill those aisles with all your favourite toys and allow your mind to transport you back to your four-year-old self. Harness that excitement, add on 22 years and a trolley, and that’s the same girlish grin you’ll see on my face as I dart from aisle to aisle stuffing home comforts like Ritz crackers and frozen chips into my cart.

However, a trip to Makro is really only necessary for tasty home comfort treats, as P. Mena, our in-house chef and mum, concocts an array of flavourful Thai dishes six days a week for two meals a day. She makes large portions too, which is great because I love to eat!

“If I thought the outside of The Castle was heaven, it’s not a patch on what happens inside its gates! “

As an outdoors lover and a water baby, I’ve discovered many things to do when I am finished writing. Of course, there is the ocean directly across the street, but lining the beachfront are several other options, such as the infinity pool at Tiki Tiki bar up the road, which offers free kayaks for clients. Next door there’s a rental place where you can glide along the iridescent sea for 300 THB, either via kayak or paddle boards. If you have a need for speed, consider booking a jet ski for 2200 THB. In addition to this, there is an abundance of hiking trails to explore. It is very easy to rent a bike (or use The Castle’s bike) and explore the many hidden gems on the road (such as the sculptor with a bookstore in literally the middle of nowhere!). My favourite part is my daily morning walks on the beach where I get the whole thing to myself. I like to float in the crystal clear waters and soak up the morning sun.

Tears, drama, vomit and prostitutes aren’t really up there as my favourite past times. Thankfully, The Castle’s spot in Samui is rather remote and draws in only a few peaceful and friendly holidaymakers, leaving us imbued in Thai culture. Although Hua Thanon is separate from mass tourist groups, it is still conveniently near to popular backpacker locations, such as Chaweng and Lamai. When you do want to explore different scenes all you have to do is stick your thumb out on the road outside, grab a red bus and you’re a mere 14km from the nightlife.

The bookstore in the middle of nowhere.

If I thought the outside of The Castle was heaven, it’s not a patch on what happens inside its gates! The house has a peaceful aura, with bright colours contrasting against the crisp clean white walls. There is a selection of relaxing places to hang out, whether it is it on the loungers staring at the sea or the hammocks looking at the jungle covered mountains, or inside the mini library in a sea of cushions all writers and artists would find blissful — there’s a peaceful haven in every nook and cranny in order to let your creative juices flow. Along with feeling relaxed enough to finally get my thoughts on paper, I get the opportunity to meet with published and successful authors who help sharpen my craft.

Definitely, the best decision I have ever made was to come and stay.

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