As a child, I would often lie on the grass and make my own interpretations of the clouds as it changed its form. Sometimes it looked like a big bird, at times like a man and sometimes like a demon too. Often we get lost in pareidolia where the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none exists. When I visited Leh a couple of months ago, I was mesmerized by the landscape at Lamayuru. Also known as Moonland, its geographical formations like moon craters and lunar landscape are fascinating and draw tourists. Till this day on my travels to the hills, when I gaze out of the window I find the similarity of a hill or a cloud to something familiar. Some are unarguably humanoid too. A miracle of nature with God as a sculptor, there are many rock formations around the world that have gained popularity because they look like a reclining man, a former U.S. president or Nefertiti.
The Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks are listed as one of the must-see tourist attractions by every tour company in Koh Samui. These rather unusual rock formations have drawn the attention of the tourists because they have an uncanny resemblance to our private organs. Fascinating! In my opinion, a mere mention of male and female genitalia would draw attention anywhere in the world. But to be listed in every tourist pamphlet as a listed attraction definitely called for a visit.
THE FOLKLORE OF HIN TA AND HIN YAI
Located along Koh Samui’s southeastern coastline of Lamai and a 300 meter off Route 4169, the Hin Ta and Hin Yai are also known as Grandma and Grandpa rocks. The information board displays a folklore of Ta Kreng (Grandpa Kreng) and Yai Riem (Grandma Riem) who set out for the neighboring province of Prachuap Khiri Khan to ask for the hand of the daughter of Ta Monglai for their son. The weather did not favor them and they lost their lives in a tempestuous storm. The old couple metamorphosized into rocks and their sexual organs stand as a testimony of their true intentions of getting their son married. An interesting story albeit with the passage of time it must have got distorted as most word of mouth folklore do. In all likelihood, these rocks were naturally formed over millions of years of glacial deposition and water erosion of the granite boulders.
A pillar with two signboards direct the visitors to the right to see Hin Ta and to the left for Hin Yai. The male genitalia can be seen right away, rising above boulders. The sight of it causes some giggles amongst a few visitors. It reminds me of school days when we first opened the chapter on the reproductive system. The jocundity and embarrassment of it all when we first saw the sketches in our school books to this moment is similar. While Hin Ta is hard to miss, Hin Yai needs some searching to do. It’s difficult to find the formation amidst all the smooth boulders. Thankfully, the tide is not high so we tread lower carefully until we spot it. Yes! It’s truly a wonder. The resemblance is undeniable. It does look like a vagina. What is even more amazing is that both Hin Yai and Hin Ta are not far from each other.
The views from the rocks are spectacular. Huge boulders smoothened with the passage of time rise above the waters and add some character to the view. The setting sun casts an orange glow over the blue pristine waters and everything is picture perfect. The cool breeze caresses my face as I stare into the horizon. I imagine the story as if it were happening before my eyes. A story of unrequited love integrated into these two natural wonders is the reason why people flock to this place.
It doesn’t take long to explore this place. Perhaps a couple of tourist attractions can be clubbed together when planning to come to see Hinta and Hinyai. The Wat Khunaram (The Mummified Monk Temple) and Lamai Viewpoint can also be done in one go.
STOP FOR THE SWEETS
A small souvenir industry has mushroomed with stalls selling knick-knacks, postcards, beverages and cool summer dresses. If there is one thing that this tourist attraction is famous for is the Kalamae – a sweet, sticky candy made of rice flour, palm sugar, and coconut cream. The pyramid-shaped, handmade candies are like caramel, all chewy before they melt in the mouth. Another treat to indulge in is the coconut ice cream. Due to coconut plantations in Koh Samui, the freshness of the drupe can be tasted in both Kalamae and coconut ice cream.
Whether the rock formations were natural wonders or a legend, Hin Ta and Hin Yai definitely call out to visitors on whom the livelihood of this area banks upon. They are undoubtedly nature’s wonders.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- Wearing good shoes with grip is advisable.
- Hin Ta and Hin Yai are located 11 km from Chaweng Beach and approximately 17 km from the airport.
- There is no admission fee.
- Parking costs 10 BHT for bike/scooter. and 50BHT for cars.
- Good timings to see the rocks would be 6 am – 7 pm ( before sunset ).
- One can use the songthaews or the collective taxis that commute on the island. Do negotiate before stepping on one.
- It is advisable to combine this tourist attraction with a couple of others.
- Time taken to see this attraction at leisure would be about half an hour.
This post is a part of #MyFriendAlexa challenge. It’s an endeavor to bring interesting stories, places, food and places to the readers. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with blogchatter.