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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Facts about the Big Buddha temple Koh Samui – A majestic symbol of steadfastness
Joanna James Joanna James
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Facts about the Big Buddha temple Koh Samui – A majestic symbol of steadfastness

The Big Buddha statue is one of the first things you will see if you're arriving at Koh Samui by air. This majestic statue is one of the most famous attractions of this beautiful island paradise.


How to get there

The Big Buddha statue is one of the first noticeable things you'll see as you're flying into Koh Samui. It is located only 3km north of the international airport and just 3km from Bophut Beach and 7.5km from the famous Chaweng beach. Travelling from either of these locations you can easily find a bus to get there but in honesty, the best way to travel around this island is to rent a motorbike – the freedom it allows is priceless. To get an authentic cultural experience, try to visit the temple in the early morning; when the locals bring their offerings.


Where to stay

In Koh Samui you will have no shortage of places to stay – the island is very accommodating of tourists and there are amazing resorts all over the island - having said that it should be noted that Chaweng beach resorts do tend to stand out from the rest. Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort is among the best of those. If you're visiting check it out, you won't be disappointed.



The Big Buddha is located on the north-eastern corner of Koh Samui on a small rocky island known as Koh Faan. This tiny island is connected to the Koh Samui by a causeway and offers quite a scenic trip to the temple. The locals call the Big Buddha temple Wat Phra Yai. The 12m tall statue was built in 1972 and is easily one of the most popular attractions on the island. It's the first and most noticeable landmark people see if they are flying into Koh Samui as it sits majestically on its rocky perch.



The Big Buddha statue is built so it is sitting in the posture known as the 'Mara Posture' – the left hand resting on the lap while the right-hand faces down. It is said that the demon Mara tried to sway the Buddha from his journey to enlightenment by throwing desires and many distractions at him. But the Buddha overcame all of that in this meditative pose and remaining calm. This posture is now associated as a symbol of steadfastness, purity and enlightenment.


The temple

The temple is frequented by many visitors both travellers and tourists alike. The main courtyard around the Big Buddha statue has a small area where vendors sell amulets, religious artefacts, clothing and souvenirs – there are also two smaller statues placed under pavilions here. A colourful staircase adorned with a dragon leads the way to the giant statue. During the day the temple offers great views of the sea and by night the statue is lit up with the golden glow of spotlights making it seem quite other-worldly and magnificent.



Just as many other places the temples serve as the focal point for most cultural celebrations. In Koh Samui, the most popular is Loy Kratong or Songkran. During this time many people crowd to the temple and many food markets and stall pop-up all over. There is a lot of entertainment and excitement.