The most beautiful temples in Koh Samui – don’t miss no 3

Koh Samui is a beautiful island and it has so much to offer but one of the best ways to explore the Thai culture is by visiting a few temples.

Most Thai temples are quite similar in architecture. This is why I’ve chosen 3 unique temples you should visit on this island. Each one is different in its own way and it has something that makes it special.

Wat Plai Laem Koh Samui floating temple architecture
Wat Plai Laem Temple Koh Samui

Before visiting one of the temples in Koh Samui, you have to keep in mind that there are certain rules you must follow. I’ll talk more about this in the section below.

Temple dress code in Koh Samui

Entering a Buddhist temple always requires a certain dress code. You will notice that all around Southeast Asia there are several rules you need to follow when entering a temple. If you don’t comply, guardians might not let your enter.

Below are a few of them:

  • don’t smoke
  • don’t bring alcohol inside the temple
  • don’t wear short pants or short skirts, ‘spaghetti’ blouses (your shoulders must be covered) or swimming suits.
  • leave your shoes at the entrance of the temple

Some temples such as Big Buddha Temple provide scarves at the entrance to cover yourself but not all of them do.

Tip: always carry a scarf with you (even if you are a boy) and tie it as skirt in order to cover your knees. 

Top temples in Koh Samui

If you are looking for hidden gems in Koh Samui, check out this article.

1. Wat Phra Yai or Big Buddha Temple

Located on a small, rocky island called Koh Faan, the Big Buddha Temple is one of the main interest points in Koh Samui. The golden, 12m tall Buddha statue was built in 1972 and it attracts hundreds of tourists daily.

Being situated on a hill, the Buddha statue can be seen from several kilometers away. At Wat Phra Yai, Buddha sits in Mara position with the left palm resting on the lap and the right palm facing down, on the knee.

Wat Phra Yai Bigg Buddha Temple Koh Samui stairs at entrance
Big Buddha Temple entrance

As you will arrive at the temple, you will see that at the base of the statue there are many shops selling souvenirs, religious artifacts and clothing. In case you are hungry, there are also several small restaurants selling local food.

To get to the Big Buddha, you will have to climb several stairs with colorful dragons on the side. Once you will reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with some amazing views over the nearby beaches. If you spend enough time on the platform, you might actually see planes landing on Koh Samui airport.

Parking and entrance fee: free

2. Wat Plai Laem Temple

Situated near the Big Buddha Temple, Wat Plai Laem Temple is my favorite temple on the island. I fell in love with its bright colors and beautiful architecture.

The temple features an amazing 18-arm Guanyin statue (the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion) which sits right in the middle of a lake, on a floating platform. Worshiping Guanyin dates back to China but her influence is now present all around Southeast Asia.

Wat Plai Laem Temple Koh Samui Guanyin statue arms
Wat Plai Laem Temple – Guanyin statue

Guanyin’s arms are an illustration on her ability to reach out and provide help all around the world. She is also seen as a fertility goddess and many people came here to pray for children.

There are also several other shrines and temples in the same compound which are definitely worth visiting. Take your time, and admire the intricate and colorful architecture of Wat Plai Laem Temple.

Wat Plai Laem Temple Koh Samui Buddha Statue front
Wat Plai Laem Temple

If you are passionate about photography, don’t forget your camera home! This is one of the best photography spots in Koh Samui!

Parking and entrance fee: free

3. Wat Khunaram (Phra Wihan Luang Por Daeng) Temple

The Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram Temple can be an unusual sight and a shocking experience but also a great way to explore the Thai culture.

Wat Khunaram Mummified Monk Luong Pardoeng
The casket where the Mummified Monk Luong Pardoeng sits in a meditation position

The monk Loung Pordaeng who is on display here died in 1973 in a meditation position and he was since brought to Wat Khunaram Temple. The body shows little sign of decay and is kept in a glass casket.

You will notice that the monk has sunglasses due to the advanced decay of his eyeballs – not a pretty sight.

Wat Khunaram Mummified Monk Luong Pardoeng
Close up of Luong Pardoeng

Although the temple itself is not impressive, it is still worth visiting due to the Mummified Monk. It can be hard to understand why people choose to keep Loung Pordaeng’s body on display but after all, it’s a part of Thai culture.

Parking and entrance fee: free

Where to stay in Koh Samui

Koh Samui a big island and choosing the best accommodation can be quite confusing. I recommend staying in the Bophut area, where you can find a wide selection of restaurants, bars, shopping malls and hotels.

Here are the best hotels, for every budget:

  • Budget – Gecko Hotel – great location, clean & spacious rooms, very friendly and helpful owner
  • Mid Budget – Ban Mok – beachfront villa, beautiful infinity poolexcellent location, modern & spacious rooms
  • Luxury – Sensimar Resort & Spa – rooms with private pool, excellent location on the beach, modern & luxurious hotel, breakfast included

These three temples are unique and worth visiting when in Koh Samui as they portray the authentic, Thai culture. Let me know in the comments about other Koh Samui temples which are worth visiting.

May the travel bug bite you!

More about Koh Samui:

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Wat Plai Laem Temple Koh Samui Guanyin statue arms

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Aurelia Teslaru

Aurelia Teslaru is a professional travel blogger and the writer behind Daily Travel Pill. With a 4-year experience as a travel writer and photographer, Aurelia only shares travel guides about destinations that she visited.

She has been to more than 40 countries during the past 10 years and aims to explore 50 countries before turning 30 years old. Aurelia is a digital nomad who transformed her passion for travel into a lifestyle. Read more about her here.

To follow her adventures, check out her Instagram and Facebook pages!

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