Top 7 Temples in Koh Samui
The Temples of Koh Samui are a highlight of this beloved holiday island. Visiting one of these sacred places is an experience and therefore almost always part of every Thailand trip. Many tourists do know the famous Big Buddha Temple because it is the main landmark of the island. Nevertheless, there are more interesting Buddhist temple complexes which are fascinating and worth a visit. But where are the most beautiful temples on Koh Samui, which site is worth seeing, and where can they be found?
In this travel guide, we have summarized the best temples of Koh Samui. In addition, we give you all the important information about opening hours, dress code and tell you some exclusive secret temple tips.
Wat Plai Laem
The Wat Plai Laem, sometimes also called the Lady Monk Temple, is located in the northern part of the island and is, without a question, one of the most beautiful temples in Koh Samui. This marvelous place is absolutely worth seeing and therefore a stop on almost every temple tour. Beautifully situated in the water, these Buddhist-Chinese buildings are a real eye-catcher. Particularly impressive is the 18-armed Guan Yin statue, which stands for compassion and mercy. It is one of the largest Guanyin statues in Thailand and impresses with its detailed carvings. But also the huge laughing Buddha and the rest of the temple complex are charming.
- Opening Hours: This temple is open from morning until evening.
- Address: Wat Plai Laem, Road 4171, Koh Samui
Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai)
The Big Buddha Temple is the island’s most popular place to see and one of Koh Samui’s most famous temples. It is located in Wat Phra Yai, in the north of the island, only a short distance from the Wat Plai Laem temple described above. A visit to the huge, about 12 meters high and shining in gold Big Buddha statue belongs to the best things to do of every Koh Samui vacation. The statue was erected in 1972 and is now one of the landmarks of Koh Samui. In addition to the beautiful temple buildings and the many colorful details, from the terrace one has an ingenious view to the neighboring island Koh Phangan.
Tip: For a small donation, a monk gives you a bracelet and blessings along the way.
- Opening Hours: There are no fixed opening times for the Big Buddha. This temple can be visited from very early until late.
- Address: Bo Phut, Koh Samui
Wat Ratchathammaram (Red Temple)
Wat Ratchathammaram, or better known as the Red Temple of Koh Samui, is another beautiful sacred site on the island. It is less visited and therefore one of the insider tips for individual travelers. This place has a special atmosphere and spreads pleasant vibes. The terracotta-colored temple impresses with wonderful decorations outside and inside. Moreover, it is surrounded by lush vegetation and offers a restful place to meditate and relax.
Right next to it is a golden pagoda, which shines incredibly impressively in the sun. In addition, a staircase decorated with snake heads leads directly down to the sea. This secret temple is really a highlight and one of our favorite temples on the island.
- Opening Hours: The temple is open daily at daytime.
- Address: 60/22 2 Bo Put, Lamai main street, Koh Samui
Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram
If you are planning a temple tour on Koh Samui, then you should definitely visit the Mummified Monk at the Wat Khunaram Temple. The monk, who died in 1973, is sitting in a glass case and does not seem to be decaying. Except for his eyes, that’s why he’s wearing black sunglasses. A lot of meditation and a healthy simple life should be the reason why his dead body is still well-preserved. For locals, this place is very sacred and therefore visitors should show a respectful attitude. A bit later, we will tell you about the right dress code for temples in Thailand.
Visiting the Wat Khunaram Temple and the Mummified Monk is an interesting thing that should not be missed if you are looking for very special places on Koh Samui.
- Opening Hours: The temple can be visited from early morning until sunset.
- Address: Na Mueang, Koh Samui
Khao Hua Jook Chedi (Golden Temple)
The Golden Temple Khao Hua Jook Chedi is a true highlight of Koh Samui. Not only wonderful to look at from the outside, there are also many beautiful details to discover inside this temple complex. Again here, you can be blessed by a monk and you will get a wristband with you on the journey. This temple is located on a mountain and therefore you can enjoy a magnificent view over the island from the terrace. You can even see over to the Big Buddha and the airport, where you can watch flights on takeoff and landing.
- Opening Hours: Also this temple can be visited at any time of the day.
- Address: Bo Phut, near Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui
If you are looking for a hidden temple on Koh Samui, you should definitely plan to visit the Wat Samret. The atmosphere here is truly unique, an oasis of peace and relaxation. There you can watch monks meditating in the shade under the old trees and enjoy the quiet ambience. In addition, courses in Buddhist philosophy and meditation are also offered for those interested. The absolute highlight of the Wat Samret are the stone Buddha figures, who have gathered around a large sitting Buddha and a reclining Buddha.
- Opening Hours: Open during the day
- Address: Na Mueang, Ko Samui Amphoe
Guan Yu Shrine
The Guan Yu Shrine is one of the few Chinese temples of Koh Samui. It was only opened in 2016 and is therefore one of the more modern temples on the island. But also this very colorful and modern holy site is really worth a visit. The huge bronze statue “Guan Yu” is about 16 meters high and thus even towers above the Big Buddha of the island. On a temple tour, you will discover many pretty details and can take great pictures. Especially popular with Chinese tourists, this sacred place is becoming one of the most important temples of Koh Samui.
- Opening hours: Open throughout
- Address: On the main road, south of Lamai Beach
More beautiful Temples on Koh Samui
These were our top 7 temple recommendations for Koh Samui. Of course, there are a few other beautiful temples on the island. Also very interesting are Wat Lamai, Wat Na Phra Lan and the large golden Laem Sor Pagoda, which is located directly at the sea. Another lovely temple is the Wat Sawang Arom, a beautiful white temple complex.
Dress Code & Rules
Almost every Thailand vacation includes a visit to a Buddhist temple. However, there are some basic rules and appropriate clothing that you should follow when visiting a temple on Koh Samui. When visiting a temple, here are some important things to remember:
Clothing: When visiting a temple, proper clothing is a must. That means, shoulders must be covered, trousers and skirts must have at least knee-length, and of course no swimwear. Flip-flops, however, are allowed because all shoes have to be taken off before entering the temple.
Rules: Walking inside the temple will always be barefooted. You are free to move, but be careful to be quiet. Photography is allowed. Monks must not be touched.
Be quiet and respectful: Be quiet and respectful inside the temple. Avoid loud talking, laughing, or talking on cell phones, and be considerate of worshippers who are praying.
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