Koh Samui Temples (Wat) and Pagodas
Thailand is a very Buddhist country and if you spend your holidays there, you will probably see many temples. Koh Samui is no exception and there are countless beautiful temples spread over the whole island. Some of them are well known and therefore attract many tourists. Others, however, can still be very lonely and fascinating.
We have summarized some of the most beautiful temples of Koh Samui for you in this article. A good mix of unknown and known temples you can explore during your stay on the island.
1. Koh Samui Temple Phra Yai / Big Buddha
The 12-meter high Big Buddha statue of the Wat Phra Yai is one of Koh Samui’s famous landmarks. It was built in 1972 on Koh Fan, a small island which is connected to Koh Samui with a dam in the Bangrak district. You can visit the beautiful temple grounds for free, but a donation to help preserve the temple is always welcome. The morning and late afternoon are usually the best times to visit the Wat Phra Yai, because in midday the steps to the Big Buddha can be very hot. You are allowed to enter the grounds only without shoes, as it is customary in Buddhist temples. Furthermore you will find some souvenir shops as well as some stores where you can buy snacks and drinks.
Google Maps Location: Wat Wat Phra Yai / Big Buddha
2. Koh Samui Temple Khunaram
Another very famous temple is the Wat Khunaram, which is not so remarkable from the outside, but there is something else that makes it special. It is located near the entrance of the Namuang Waterfall 2 at the Koh Samui Ring Road. Many locals are visiting the temple grounds to pray and many tourists come because of the mummified monk whose corpse has not decayed there for decades. It is told that the monk predicted his death as well as the non-reprobation of his corpse. In 1973 he died while meditating in a sitting position and his body has always been preserved since. Now he sits in a glass case shielded from external influences and put on display. Very impressive and there is also no entrance fee for the Wat Khunaram.
Google Maps Location: Wat Khunaram
3. Koh Samui Temple Sila Ngu
Located directly on the Ring Road of Koh Samui the Wat Sila Ngu attracts visitors because of the large red temple building, which you can see from the street. The temple is also known as Wat Racha Thammaram or Snake Stone Pagoda. Next to the fascinating red building with many carvings you will see a golden pagoda in direction of the ocean. Amongst locals it’s said that the golden pagoda contains a relic of Buddha, which makes it special for Thais. In addition the temple grounds are famous, because some popular Thai television shows were filmed on site. You can visit the Wat Sila Ngu free of charge, but a donation is always welcome.
Google Maps Location: Wat Sila Ngu
4. Koh Samui Temple Lamai
The Wat Lamai is the main temple of Lamai, the second largest town of Koh Samui, which is situated on the east coast. You will find the temple easily along the Ring Road, just before you turn left to follow it inside Lamai. Next to the Buddhist statues and temple buildings you can also visit a cultural hall on the temple grounds, which is used for weddings or funerals of the locals. Furthermore, the Wat Lamai hosts a folklore museum. It is guarded by two large yak statues, ancient warriors. Inside the museum you can learn a lot about the past of the island and take a look at artifacts from different times on Koh Samui, some up to 2000 years old. That’s still not all. There is also a temple school on the grounds of Wat Lamai and sometimes there are local festivals you can also attend as a tourist. Like most of the temples the Wat Lamai has no entrance fee, but it’s nice to leave a small donation afterwards.
Google Maps Location: Wat Lamai
5. Koh Samui Temple Na Phra Lan
The Wat Na Phra Lan Temple is located near the Lomprayah pier in Maenam and is one of the temples that very few tourists see. It is very quiet on the temple grounds, except for the passing cars, which go to the pier. The pagoda on the small hill and the statue of King Rama V are just two highlights. Furthermore, you will find many Buddhist statues on site and you can also meet some monks at the Wat Na Phra Lan. A very quiet place, which is perfect for enjoying the atmosphere as well as seeing a temple away from the tourist crowds of Koh Samui. Admission is free of charge, of course.
Google Maps Location: Wat Na Phra Lan
6. Koh Samui Laem Sor Pagoda / Temple Rattanakosin
On the southern coast of Koh Samui you can find the Laem Sor Pagoda. It is usually only visited by a few tourists and therefore really calm. The golden pagoda with the ocean behind is a great location for a picture or even to linger at the beach after visiting the pagoda. Also there is a fantastic view of the nearby island Koh Madsum. In addition to the pagoda there is also the so-called Boat Hall, where you will find a boat and a wax image of a monk, who is said to have built the pagoda. By the way, not far from Laem Sor Pagoda, on the top of a mountain, you can see Wat Rattanakosin, also known as Wat Khao Chedi. On the top, there are some Buddha statues and a white Chedi as well as a terrific view over the southern coast of Koh Samui with the palm trees. Both temples don’t charge an admission.
Google Maps Location: Laem Sor Pagoda / Wat Rattanakosin
7. Koh Samui Temple Plai Laem
Only built in 2004 the Wat Plai Laem temple grounds are one of the most interesting temples on Koh Samui. The highlights are of course the huge Kuan Yin statue with its 18 arms and the Chinese “fat” Buddha. The first one is the Chinese Bodhisattva of Compassion and is especially revered by the Thai Chinese people. The statues are situated on a large lake with fish and turtles inside, which you can feed for a donation of 10 baht for the food. The complex of the temple is still being expanded and in the future there will be even more statues and temple buildings to visit. The admission is free, but a donation for the development and preservation of the Wat Plai Laem is always welcome.
Google Maps Location: Wat Plai Laem
8. Koh Samui Khao Hua Jook Pagoda
On top of the Chow Daow Mountain you can see the Khao Hua Jook Pagoda with its Golden Chedi from many parts of Chaweng. To get to the pagoda it’s best to have your own means of transport like a scooter or rented car, because besides taxis there is no public transport going up that mountain. The entrance to the temple grounds is free and while you are walking up the stairs to the top you can see many signs on the trees with Buddhist wisdoms. As soon as you reach the top you can either climb up more to the Khao Hua Jook Pagoda with a nice view over Chaweng Lake or the Koh Samui Airport or visit the huge Buddha footprint inside. Sometimes you can even meet some monks at the pagoda, who are usually open for a small chat.
Google Maps Location: Khao Hua Jook Pagoda
9. Koh Samui Temple Bo Phut Tharam
Right on the Ring Road, but still a bit hidden is the Wat Bophut Tharam located. In the vicinity of the Fisherman’s Village you can see a huge statue of the revered Luang Pu Thuat, painted completely in black. However, it is built on a boat which makes it even more special. The great architecture and tranquility make the Wat Bophuttharam a very unique temple, which is usually visited only by locals. In the lower part of the boat there is also a museum and from the deck of the boat you will have a great view over the temple grounds. A nice place to pray or meditate, but of course you can just take a look around the beautiful Buddhist architecture for free.
Google Maps Location: Wat Bo Phuttharam
10. Koh Samui Temple Teepangkorn
The Wat Teepangkorn is situated on the highest point of Koh Samui the Khao Pom Mountain. It offers a wonderful view from the summit at 635 meters. The temple is mostly not too crowded and is currently being expanded even further. But some island tours have already included the Wat Teepangkorn in their program and so you can meet some visitors at certain times. The large golden Buddha statue is the highlight. It is named Phra Buddha Teepangkorn according to the name of the temple grounds. By the way, the admission is free, but sometimes they want to have a donation to enter the platform with the golden Buddha. In the area you can also discover a few more temple buildings as well as a museum, but in the near future there will be a lot more to see on the summit of the Khao Pom Mountain.
Google Maps Location: Wat Teepangkorn
These ten temples give you only a small but varied insight into the Buddhist temples of Koh Samui. If you are interested in temples, the island offers a few more to visit. But these are the best known and of course a few insider tips off the beaten path.