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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Big Buddha Temple on Koh Samui - A beckoning beacon of purity
Joanna James Joanna James
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Big Buddha Temple on Koh Samui - A beckoning beacon of purity

The Big Buddha Temple, or Wat Phra Yai, is swarming with tourists when it is not bustling with locals. Being an iconic attraction in Koh Samui, here are some things you need to know about it.



The Big Buddha Temple is located on its own island, which is about 15 minutes away from Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort. The island where the temple stands is named Fan and locally is known as Koh Fan. It is about 3km away from the Koh Samui International Airport, and about the same distance from the Bophut beach. Since times of old, Koh Fan has been attached to Koh Samui by the means of a natural causeway, which was ravaged by time. It has been renovated since of late, and you can simply walk over the causeway to the temple. Alternatively, you can drive to the temple premises itself and park your vehicle in the car park that is on the temple grounds.



The Big Buddha Temple is relatively new to join the ranks of places of religious worship, as it was built only in 1972. However, what it lacks in history, it more than makes up with the detail and structure. It is no exaggeration to say that the Big Buddha Temple is the main attraction in Koh Samui. It greets the visitor as they fly over Koh Samui to land, as a gigantic statue that glistens in gold is hard to miss, even from the air. Once you move closer to the statue, you would be facing astounding details on the sculpture, a true testimony to the skills of the artists. The posture in which Buddha is depicted sitting is called the Mara posture. The left-hand rests on the lap of the sitting statue, palm facing upwards, while the right-hand hangs over the knee, with fingers touching the ground. The moment captured here is an illustration of purity and steadfastness. As per history, this is where the Mara – a devil – attempted to seduce Buddha by forcing temptation upon Him to prevent Him from attaining enlightenment.


When To Visit

There is no best month to visit the temple, though if your visit coincides with one of the local religious festivals, you are in for a treat, albeit at the price of larger crowds. The best time to visit the Temple would be early in the morning, preferably as soon as possible. The premises tend to get rather heated up towards mid-day, though spending an evening at the temple is also nice. It would take anything between half an hour to two hours to explore the premises. As there are plenty of Koh Samui 5 Star resorts in the vicinity, you can easily slot a visit after a meal.


What To Wear

There is a certain dress code that must be adhered to when visiting places of worship in Koh Samui, including the Big Buddha Temple. A general rule of thumb is your shoulders and knees must be covered – whether male or female – and covered ankles are preferred. The best thing to do is to carry a large scarf with you which can be transformed into a long skirt or a handy bolero as is required. Make sure you wear slip-ons, and not laced shoes as you have to take your shoes off before entering the temple.

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