Koh Samui Attractions
Big Buddha temple sits on a small rocky island off Koh Samui’s north-eastern corner. Known locally as Wat Phra Yai, its golden, 12-meter seated Buddha statue was originally constructed in 1972 and remains one of the island’s most popular attractions. Set on Koh Faan, Big Buddha temple is reached by a man made drive way.The Big Buddha can be seen at a distance of several kilometers and is often the first landmark you will see when arriving to Samui by airplane. The Big Buddha sits in the Mara posture, with the left hand’s palm up resting on the lap and the right hand facing down, the fingers hanging over the knee and grazing the ground. It depicts a time during Buddha’s journey to enlightenment where he successfully subdued the temptations and dangers thrust at him by the devil-figure Mara by meditating and remaining calm. The pose is a symbol of steadfastness, purity and enlightenment. In 2005 and 2006, Big Buddha has been extended with a Dharma wheel and a traditional Suphannahong boat.
Hinta Hin yai
The ‘Grandfather Rock’ and ‘Grandmother Rock’ are also known as Hin Ta and Hin Yai. These amazing rocks are located between Lamai and Hua Thanon beach’s and look like the male and female genitalia in rock formation.
There is a legend behind the Hin Ta/Hin Yai rocks which is a tale of tragedy. As the story is told, it says of an old couple by the name of Ta Kreng (Grandpa Kreng) and Yai Riem (Grandma Riem) who lived with their son in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Since their son had come of age, they felt that it was time for him to get married. They decided to sail to the neighboring province of Prachuap Khiri Khan a man named Ta Monglai for his daughters hand in marriage. During the journey, their boat was unable to with stand a powerful sea storm. They died at sea, turning into rocks as proof to the would-be bride’s parents of their true intentions. The rocks stand here to this day. A nice story and is explained in more details near the rocks. A great place to take a picture but please be respectful of the rocks as the locals really respect the story.
Na Muang Waterfalls is an amazing set of two cascades of water on Koh Samui. Found inland about 12 kilometers south-east of Nathon Bay, the Na Muang falls are reached by taking a walking path from the entrance to the park. The first waterfall, Na Muang 1, flows down into a pretty natural pool that provides a cool escape from the heat. About 30 minutes by foot further uphill is the smaller yet exotic area is Na Muang 2. Namtok Na Muang, or ‘Purple Waterfalls’, are so named because of the striking purple shade of their rock faces. There are other waterfalls to visit on Koh Samui, but these are considered to be among the most scenic. Na Muang is a popular place for families to relax and swim. Many Samui tours include a refreshing stop at the Na Muang Waterfalls on their itinerary. Na Muang Waterfalls are set in lush jungle surrounds, easily accessible just off the main road about halfway between Nathon and Lamai Beach. Visitors with a reasonable level of fitness will be able to reach the falls on foot. The paths leading to the falls can be steep or slippery in places so be sure to wear some sturdy footwear and take care when walking. Though access to the waterfalls is free there is plenty along the way to spend your money on, including several stalls selling snacks and souvenirs and offers of a guided tour of the area. An entire day could be spent at the falls swimming, hiking, exploring, picnicking – a cool and peaceful alternative to the beach. Enjoy
Koh Samui Go Carting
Easykart.net Samui is the biggest, safest and most high-tech go-kart entertainment complex in Thailand.
2 large tracks, panoramic terrace, restaurant, bar, pool.
For families with kids as well as more experienced pilots.
Open daily from 10.00am to 1.00 am after midnight, ideally located on Chaweng Lake.
Exotic Fishing Koh Samui (Topcats)
A truly unique fishing experience with some amazing fish imported from all around the world, including Some from The Amazon.
Species include Arapaima, Aligator Gar, Giant Mekong Catfish, Giant Siamese Carp, Redtail Catfish, Niger Catfish, Tiger Catfish, Leapord Catfish and paku Pirrhanas.
Koh Samui Diving
Diving in Koh Samui is yet another reason to visit this tropical Island. With clear blue waters, warm waters and amazing marine life, it is not surprise that the area is a popular destination for experienced divers and those wanting to try a few dives. Short, accredited dive courses are readily available and prices are very reasonable compared to most countries. There is a wide range of dive shops offering all levels of instruction and if you look around, it’s not difficult to find courses conducted in the language of your choice. In addition to the affordable prices, one of the best reasons dive courses are so popular here is the great locations from usually conducted right by the beach in the shallow, calm waters off Chaweng, Coral Cove or several other places around the island. The water visibility is anywhere between a few meters to up to 25 meters. The currents around Samui itself are variable, but usually not too strong except on the west coast during the monsoon months. Most places for novices are only a short boat ride away, while world-class sites for more advanced divers can be found less than two hours away at places like Ang Thong National Marine Park and Sail Rock. Come to Samui and enjoy the diving. You will have fun. www.divepoint-samui.com
Island Organics Thai Cooking School
An organic garden and Thai cooking school in one. Learn how they use their aquaponics, liquid composts, aeroponics and verticle tower systems before learning how to cook a selection of your favourite Thai dishes. End the day by enjoying your new dishes.
Koh Samui’s Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram is unique yet it offers a unusual insight into Buddhist and Thai culture. The monk Luong Pordaeng died in 1973 in a seated meditative position and ever since his body has been on display in an upright glass case at the temple. More than 40 years on the monk’s body shows little sign of decay. For some visitors, having a dead man in full view might be a shocking sight, but for Thais it is something to reflect upon and revere. Far from being frightened by death, most Buddhist Thais are highly accepting of the end of life as the natural order of things and they view death as an opportunity to be reborn into a better place, one step closer to nirvana. There are other mummy monks on Samui and throughout Thailand, but Loung Pordang is among the most highly revered. Loung Pordang is said to have told his followers shortly before his death that if his body were to decompose he should be cremated but if not then he wanted to be put on display as a visual reminder of the Buddha’s teachings. For Thais, both the life and death of Loung Pordang serves as an inspiration to follow the Buddhist precepts and walk the middle path. Loung Pordang was born as Dang Piyasilo on Koh Samui in 1894 to a prominent family within the small island community. Like many Thai Buddhist men, Khun Dang ordained as a monk in his early 20s, where he spent two years at Wat Samret before disrobing and marrying a local woman. He had six children. Later on in life after his children were grown he returned to life in the temple, where he immersed himself into studying Buddhist texts and meditation. The name given to him as a monk was Phra Khru Samathakittikhun. After spending some time in Bangkok, he returned to Koh Samui where it is believed that he did an intensive meditation session in Tham Yai (Big Cave), and lived out his days as a highly respected monk and abbot. In the week before his death, Loung Pordang who was 79 by now, stopped eating and speaking, and sat in a deep meditative state before his life slipped away. It is believed that his simple life, healthy diet and long meditation sessions contributed both to his long life and to his body’s amazing preservation after death. The only noticeable change to the body has been the disintegration of the eyes, which have now been respectfully covered by sunglasses. Aside from the Mummy Monk, Wat Khunaram is a normal Buddhist temple, where local people come daily to make merit and pray. Amulets and other Buddhist artifacts may be bought, and visitors are welcome to join or observe the daily rituals and have a look around. The temple is open for visitors during daylight hours every day, and the best times to go are early morning or late afternoon when the temple is most active with merit making and monk chanting activities. There is parking available on the temple grounds. Wat Khunaram is on the ring road between the Na Muang waterfalls and Hua Thanon. Entry is free, though donations are welcome to support the temple’s upkeep. Since this a sacred place of worship, please dress politely by wearing trousers or skirts that cover the knee and covering bare shoulders with a shirt, scarf or sarong.
Secret Buddha Garden
Secret Buddha Garden is hidden away high in the hills offering views and an unusual collection of statues surrounded by jungle surrounds. The gardens are a creation of an old Samui fruit farmer, Nim Thongsuk, who in 1976 began erecting several statues and temples around his families land. The statues depict a number of animals, deities and humans in various poses, including one of Pi Nim himself. It shows him in a relaxed position sitting on a rock. Pi Nim continued to work developing his garden until his death at the age of 91. The garden surroundings are cool and peaceful, with a waterfall and stream flowing through, all shaded by thick jungle. The Secret Buddha Gardens are found in Samui’s interior, to the north-west of Lamai Beach. With the steep and bumpy road, getting there is a challenge so its best done in a four wheel drive vehicle. Many visitors choose to come here on a day trip that includes a tour of the gardens. Secret Buddha Garden, also known as Heaven’s Garden or Magic Garden is well worth a visit. With statues of all shapes and sizes scattered around the grounds, a wrong turn or a closer look behind a tree may yield yet another hidden surprise. During his working years, the Garden’s founder Pi Nim was known as a creative durian farmer, who helped Samui become famous for this prized pungent fruit. Upon his retirement he opened his family’s land to the public and assembled a team to develop the garden, sculpting many figures representing mainly Buddhist folklore. Each statue has a story to tell, and most Thais will know the meaning and mythology behind these works of art. Secret Buddha Garden sits atop the Tar Nim Waterfall peak. The views from within gardens and on the road leading up to it are spectacular. Secret Buddha Garden is found on a hilltop, just off the ring road at Baan Saket. Only experienced drivers should attempt the road and only in a four wheel drive vehicle. Those who do not wish to make the trip themselves can visit the gardens as part of an adventure day trip such as a jungle/safari tour or all terrain vehicle. These are easily arranged with most tour agents on Samui. There are some steep paths and a lot of steps to get around within the gardens, so those with limited mobility may find it a challenge. Make sure you take plenty of water.
Wat Plai Laem
Wat Plai Laem is a Buddhist temple compound on Samui’s north-east coast of Samui, featuring a striking white 18-arm image of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Close to the Big Buddha temple, Wat Plai Laem offers visitors a view into Chinese-Thai beliefs as well as some elaborate Buddhist themed art and architecture. Wat Plai Laem is an active temple, where devotees come daily to pay homage to Guanyin and the Buddha, who is also depicted in a number of statues and murals around the temple. This is a relatively new temple but the art techniques used in its creation are centuries-old and based on ancient beliefs. Adding to its feel of tranquillity, the temple is surrounded by a lake, which is teeming with fish. Visitors who make a donation to the temple are given a bag of food to feed the fish.
At Wat Plai Laem the giant Guanyin statue, a towering white structure set in the center of the temple grounds, forms an imposing and serene presence. The worship of Guanyin dates back to ancient China, but her influence has spread across East and Southeast Asia in the generations since. A showcase of Koh Samui’s strong Chinese heritage, the temple’s intricate designs were created by one of Thailand’s foremost artists, Jarit Phumdonming. The Goddess is flanked by two long halls that feature colorful murals depicting Buddhist mythological stories. Guanyin is believed to be a source of unconditional love and a protector of all beings. Her multitude of arms is seen as an illustration of her ability to reach out and provide help across the world. She is also seen as a fertility goddess and many who come here pray for her help in bearing healthy children. As well, Guanyin is believed by some to offer protection to sailors on the sea. Wat Plai Laem also include a large white laughing Buddha statue, beautifully carved teak entry doors, and an elaborate ubosot (ceremonial hall) set on an island in the lake. Wat Plai Laem is open to visitors all day during daylight hours, and is particularly lively during Chinese festival events such as Chinese New Year. Since this is a sacred place, polite dress and conduct is a must. Be sure to wear shirts or scarves that cover the shoulders, trousers or long shorts, and avoid wearing beachwear. Worshipers often don white clothing when visiting the temple. Entry is free but donations are welcome.