Big Buddha, Ko Samui

Samui's symbol

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

What we say: 3.5 stars

Located on tiny Ko Phan Island and accessible via a causeway and a long staircase protected by two colourful naga serpents, Big Buddha sits around 15 metres tall and 12 metres wide and is depicted in the 'subduing Mara' pose with fingertips of one hand touching the earth.

Construction of a monastery on the island was begun in 1920 but stalled after the death of the monk in charge. The plan was eventually changed and the Buddha built instead, but several monks can be found here splashing holy water on the faithful. Don't be shy -- everyone is welcome so long as they dress and act appropriately.

Ko Phan, or Small Deer Island, gets its name from a legend that mentions an enchanted deer being the island's guardian spirit. Visitors drained by the heat and the trek up the stairs are cooled by a sea breeze as they gaze past ornate bells, over the boat-filled bay towards Ko Som and Ko Pha Ngan in the distance.

After enjoying the views, you might poke around the surrounding area which hosts a fish spa, ice cream parlour, shops selling souvenirs and island products (look for 'Rasta Coconut Oil'), and some interesting artist galleries including one who works entirely with metals to create huge and shocking statues of, for example, Chucky the horror movie doll.

More details
At the end of Bang Rak, as you round the bend to Choeng Mon, Ko Samui
How to get there: At the end of Bang Rak on the 4171, as you round the bend to Choeng Mon.
Last updated: 6th June, 2013

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Sights in Ko Samui