The Big Buddha temple Koh Samui, also known as Wat Phra Yai in Thai, is a temple you have to see when visiting the island. It is a very unique and beautiful temple that stands alone at the end of a long pier in the North of Samui. This golden temple was built in 1972 and is now one of the most visited locations on Koh Samui. The decorations are beautiful and it’s a fantastic spot for photo opportunities! So take your time here for some cool shots. Find in this complete guide all you need to know about the Big Buddha temple Koh Samui.
Best Koh Samui tours
If you want to explore the best of Koh Samui, and eventually the surrounding islands such as Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Ang Thong Marine Park and Koh Nang Yuan, then you can find the best tours here. All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- ATV Quad bike safari tour in the jungle of Koh Samui. Explore Koh Samui on an ATV quad bike on this guided tour through lush jungles and dirt roads to get your adrenaline pumping.
- Beach Yoga Class & Full-Day Sightseeing Tour Koh Samui. Start the day mindful with a yoga class on a quiet beach. After that you will visit the highlights of Samui island such as the biggest waterfall, famous rock formations and beautiful pagoda’s and viewpoints.
- Traditional Thai cooking class with market tour. Learn how to make traditional Thai food in a half-day, small group cooking class. Choose four dishes to cook and take an educational tour of Koh Samui’s local market to discover the beauty of Thai herbs, spices, and vegetables.
- Go on a 4WD wild Jungle Safari tour with lunch. Enjoy a half-day tour visiting the highlights of Koh Samui in an 4×4 army jeep and have lunch at a mountain-top restaurant with beautiful views of the island.
- Koh Samui night market, sunset view at Laem Sor Pagoda and beach dinner. This private tour starts with a visit to the night market. Then you will visit the famous rock formations and Laem Sor Pagoda for a romantic sunset. To end the evening you will have a private dinner on the beach.
- Visit an ethical elephant home on Koh Samui. During this ethical, half-day program you have the opportunity to participate and spend quality time caring for elephants while observing their natural behaviour.
- Fishing and snorkeling trip with BBQ. Embark on a fishing journey with a traditional wooden fishing boat and fish in the Gulf of Thailand. Snorkel with the marine life at a special location and enjoy an amazing barbecue out at sea.
- Discover Koh Phangan by 4×4 Full-Day Tour. Enjoy a full day of adventure in a 4×4 Jeep on Koh Phangan island and explore the natural beauty and hidden gems of the island.
- Go island hopping to 5 secret nearby islands on a luxury yacht. Visit the 5 secret islands nearby Koh Samui and snorkel, swim or sea kayak to explore the coastline & mangrove forests. Feed the resident deers and pigs on Koh Rap island and have a lovely lunch on board of the luxury yacht.
- Visit Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan on this day tour. Enjoy sightseeing and snorkel at Ao Muang. Swim and snorkel at Koh Nang Yuan and hike to the top of the mountain for an incredible panoramic view.
- Ang Thong Marine park day tour. Explore Ang Thong Marine park from Samui and snorkel at Koh Wao or Koh Tay Plow. Visit Emerald Lake, go kayaking and hike up Mae Koh for the breathtaking viewpoint. Enjoy breakfast and lunch on board of the boat.
- Long tail boat tour to Coral and Pig Island. Go on an island hopping adventure and discover the beautiful coral reefs. Swim amongst colorful marine life and meet the friendly pigs of Pig Island Koh Madsum.
How to get to Big Buddha temple Koh Samui
The Big Buddha temple is located in the North East of Koh Samui. Very close to Wat Plai Laem which is also very worth to visit! Take the main route 4169 up to the northeast region of Samui, then turn off on route 4171. The temple is about 3 kilometers directly north of Samui International Airport and 3km east of Bophut Beach.
What to expect when you visit the Big Buddha temple
The 12 meters golden Buddha statue was built in 1972 and remains one of the islands most popular attractions. It’s often the first landmark people see when arriving to Koh Samui by air. 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 hang over the knee and grazing the ground. It represents the time during Buddha’s journey to enlightenment. He successfully subdued temptations and dangers by meditating and remaining calm. The pose is a symbol of stability, purity and enlightenment.
Around the base of the tall statue is a courtyard and vendor area where clothes, souvenirs and religious artifacts are sold. There are also some food stalls and a small restaurant to enjoy a Thai meal. A staircase with a colorful striking dragon leads up to the platform area where the Buddha sits.
Since this is a sacred place, visitors are asked to dress politely. Be sure to wear shirts or scarves that cover the shoulders, trousers or long shorts, and of course no beachwear when visiting the Big Buddha temple Koh Samui.
Best time to visit the Big Buddha Koh Samui
The temple is open all day, but for those hoping to catch a true cultural experience, it’s best to go in the early morning hours. Local people then bring their food and other offerings to the temple and the monks do their morning chanting.
Also in the morning it’s the best timing to go considering the heat later during midday. The stairs become super hot and you don’t want to cover up yourself in too many clothes in the glaring sun.
Basically next door you will find another beautiful temple worth to visit. It’s Wat Plai Laem, read more about that temple here!
More Koh Samui travel inspiration
We hope you enjoyed this blog post about the Big Buddha temple Koh Samui. Make sure to check out the other beautiful Koh Samui temples.
For more Koh Samui travel inspiration, head over to our other Koh Samui travel guides.