Dominating the culture of Koh Samui is the religion of Buddhism, whose tenants are linked inseparably with the daily lives of most Thais. Thus, it is hardly surprising that one of the leading tourist attractions of Koh Samui is linked to Buddhism. Also known as the Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai), is a 15 meters tall statue of Lord Buddha built in 1972, which is located towards the northern shores of Koh Samui.

There is a wide selection of temples all over Samui, some of the more interesting being Kunaram Temple on the Southwest coast housing the mummified monk, the Wat Plai Lam Temple between Big Buddha and Choeng Mon Beach, which is probably the biggest temple in Samui. And the Wat Khum Aram Temple with the very impressive Elephant gate.

Wat Phra Yai and Big Buddha

This temple is the home of Koh Samui's most famous landmark the Big Buddha. Most Visitors come to marvel at the sheer size and beauty of this remarkable statue at some point during their holiday. Visible from several kilometers away and even from the air when arriving on or leaving the island , the 12 meter tall golden image stands proud.

At the base of the structure, several shops and restaurants cater to the needs of devotees and tourists alike. Wat Phra Yai is in the Northeast of Samui on route 4171 near the airport, and only 2 kilometers from The Park Samui resort.

Kunaram Temple – Mummified Monk

The body of Samui's most famous mummified monk, Loung Pordaeng, is on display here in a specially constructed building. When he died more than 20 years ago, he was sitting in a meditation position. He is still in that same position and his body shows few signs of any major decay. Wat Khunaram is on the 4169 ring-road between the Na Muang waterfalls and Hua Thanon.

Buddha’s Footprint

There are actually four foot-prints here, superimposed one on another. Each one is artistically en-graved. They are housed in a modest shrine 150 steps up a steep hill, which also offers a great view across the plains to the mountains opposite, and to the sea over the tree tops. Buddha's Footprint is not signposted but can be found by going up a concrete slope on the left, two kilometers West of the turnoff for the Butterfly Garden on the 4170 road.

Wat Kiri Wongkaram

The mummified body of the Buddhist monk Loung Por Ruam can be viewed here in a glass case. He was placed in it upon his death 25 years ago and his body is still in remarkably good condition. The temple can be located by following the 4170 road South from Ban Saket and then turning right between tow giant elephant statues. It is a further kilometer along this road on the right hand side.

Wat Plai Laem

Wat Plai Laem is located in the north of Samui on road 4171 from Big Buddha to Choeng Mon Beach. The temple is famous for the hundreds of big fish enjoying their live in the lake of the temple and waiting to be fed (Food for the fish is available at the temple for a small donation of 10 Baht per pack). Wat Plai Laem is one of the most colorful temple on Samui and features an 18 arms strong Buddha statue set in the middle of the lake.