'Paradise' found by French family in island lockdown
A French family who chose a life under coronavirus lockdown on Koh Samui when their world tour was disrupted has had their experience described as a "paradise" by French media, according to Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto.
Mr Wichawut said the resort island's image received a boost when the story of the Duvernois family, who have been confined to the island since late March, was broadcast on French TV.
According to Mr Wichawut, the family from the Rhone region sold their house and left France on Feb 9 for Cambodia via Thailand. They were in Laos when countries were closing their borders to restrict people's movement in a bid to contain the outbreak.
The family returned to Thailand before the border was closed and stumbled upon the luxury Ammatara Pura Pool Villa by the sea on Koh Samui which offered them a special price for a one-month stay, said the governor.
Their daily routine at the resort included lessons for their children, swimming in the villa's pool and ordering take-out from nearby food-shops. They helped with cleaning the pool after the hotel staff were sent home.
"The family also donated rice and dried food supplies to a charity for distribution to local residents affected by the Covid-19 pandemic," said the governor.
Mr Wichawut said another French family who was also confined to Koh Samui during the lockdown had also appeared in French news programmes which described their life under lockdown as a "paradise", he said.
"Their stories reinforce the image of Koh Samui as a tourist destination for families," he said, adding that the scoop on the Duvernois family drew five million viewers.