Samui's fame as the beach and coconut isle is widespread,
but few visitors realize that it also has a wealth of Buddhist
culture. From ancient Buddha images to modern colorful temples,
there is a vast selection of interesting sites to visit and sights
to see. Here are our suggestions. Please remember to dress
politely (no beachwear or revealing clothing) and to behave with
respect in temple grounds.
Phara Yai and Big Buddha
This temple is the home of Koh Samui's most famous
landmark the Big Buddha. Most Visitors come to marvel at the sheer
size and beauty of this remarkable statue at some point during
their holiday. Visible from several kilometers away and even from
the air when arriving on or leaving the island , the 12 meter tall
golden image stands proud.
the base of the structure, several shops and restaurants cater to
the needs of devotees and tourists alike. Wat Phra Yai is in the
Northeast of Samui on route 4171 near the airport.
Kunaram Temple - Mummified Monk
The body of Samui's most famous mummified monk, Loung Pordaeng,
is on display here in a specially constructed building. When
he died more than 20 years ago, he was sitting in a meditation
position. He is still in that same position and his body shows
few signs of any major decay. Wat Khunaram is on the 4169
ring-road between the Na Muang waterfalls and Hua Thanon.
Formerly one of Samui's main attractions, this small,
dilapidated statue is now only visited by Buddhist devotees.
Although it is in a state of disrepair, the Coral Buddha is
still revered and is a place of worship for the monks from
nearby Wat Sumret. The only direction sign is a small tatty
board parallel to the road which is easy to miss when driving
past. It is on the 4169 ring-road approximately 800 meters
West of Hua Thanon.
Sumret Temple Part of Wat Sumret, this building contains many
different Buddha images. One is in the reclining position and
the tallest, which stands three meters, was transported all
the way from India. Wat Sumret is down the second concrete
road on the left, 800 meters West of Hua Thanon on the 4169
actually four foot-prints here, superimposed one on another.
Each one is artistically en-graved. They are housed in a
modest shrine 150 steps up a steep hill, which also offers a
great view across the plains to the mountains opposite, and to
the sea over the tree tops. Buddha's Footprint is not
signposted but can be found by going up a concrete slope on
the left, two kilometers West of the turnoff for the Butterfly
Garden on the 4170 road.
Wat Leam Sor Chedi
In the grounds of
Wat Laem Sor, this ornately designed Chedi (Pagoda) sits at
the rocky water's edge. Covered in countless small yellow
tiles, it appears golden when viewed from a short distance.
It's at the far South of the island off the 4170 road between
Ban Tale and Ban Pang Ka. Follow the track with a sign that
reads "Waikiki Bungalows", and It's at the end of that.
Also in the Wat Laem Sor grounds, but a fair distance away
lies the Khao (mountain) Chedi. Until a few months ago, this
ruined monument had been forgotten about for many years. Now,
the overgrown path leading to the chedi has been cleared and
there's easy access. About 300 meters West of the Laem Sor
Chedi there is a hill. At the base of the hill a small hut can
be seen, and 100 meters to the right of this dwelling, the
path is visible. It leads to a stairway which takes about 10
minutes to climb. At the top, the peaceful ruins of the Khao
Chedi greet the intrepid explorer. The panorama of Laem Sor
Bay and the nearby islands from here is breathtaking.
contain a relic of the Lord Buddha, the golden chedi facing
the temple's entrance is a popular place of worship. Many
local travelling shows and even visiting TV stars sometimes
use the temple grounds here for their performances. Wat Sila
Ngu is on the 4169 ring-road, one kilometer South of Hin-Ta
Hin-Yai on the beach side of the road.
Kiri Wongkaram The
mummified body of the Buddhist monk Loung Por Ruam can be
viewed here in a glass case. He was placed in it upon his
death 25 years ago and his body is still in remarkably good
condition. The temple can be located by following the 4170
road South from Ban Saket and then turning right between tow
giant elephant statues. It is a further kilometer along this
road on the right hand side.
Wat Plai Laem is located in the north of Samui on road 4171
from Big Buddha to Choeng Mon Beach. The temple is famous for
the hundreds of big fish enjoying their live in the lake of
the temple and waiting to be fed (Food for the fish is
available at the temple for a small donation of 10 Baht per
pack). Wat Plai Laem is one of the most colorful temple on
Samui and features an 18 arms strong Buddha statue set in the
middle of the lake.