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by Orient-Express
Napasai, Koh Samui, Thailand

Temples and Sacred Places

There are numerous temples and sacred places on the island. Thailand's deeply-rooted Buddhist faith comes alive in the ancient and modern temples scattered throughout the island. Many of these temples are still in use. Appropriate dress and behaviour are expected and donations to help upkeep are always welcome.

Big Buddha
Koh Samui is probably most famous for the immense golden statue of Buddha at Wat Phra Yai. The 15 metre tall statue, erected in 1972, is seated at top of a flight of steps amid highly decorated pagodas, temples and meditation centres.

The Coral Buddha
A once famous landmark, this statue has suffered neglect in recent years, yet remains a pilgrimage for Buddhist monks and devotees. Off the beaten track, it is a short walk away from Wat Sumret.

Buddha's Footprint
Four superimposed footprints, heavily decorated, are housed in a modest shrine on a hilltop. The 150 steps you climb to reach the shrine take you high enough to give fabulous views out over the island.

Wat Sila Ngu
The main attraction here is the chedi (pagoda) intricate and entirely covered in gold leaf. The pagoda is a popular location for worship among the local population and houses a relic of the Lord Buddha.

Wat Laem Sor
In the grounds of the Wat sits the ornate chedi on a rocky outcrop at the water's edge. Entirely covered in gold-coloured tiles, it is a stunning site with the turquoise ocean and azure skies behind it.

Mummified Monks
In the Buddhist faith, monks are highly revered, and on their death two were mummified some 25 years ago. One of the island's two mummified monks reside in the temple at Wat Kiri Wongkaram. On his death Loung Por Ruam's body was placed in a glass case within the temple and his body shows little sign of decay. The second monk, Loung Pordaeng, known as the Meditating Monk, is to be found in the exact position in which he died in the temple at Wat Khunaram.

Also worth visiting are the Sawadee Shrine, dedicated to the wife of the god Brahma, one of the three creators of the world. Wat Plai Leam is one of the most colourful sites on the island and has a spectacular eighteen-armed Buddha in the centre of a lake.

The Sumret temple hosts the Secret Hall of Buddhas, many statues and pieces of art, including a large white marble Buddha, said to be over 100 years old.


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