The First Landmark you'll see

when arriving in Koh Samui by plane

Wat Phra Yai - Big Buddha Temple of Koh Samui

The Big Buddha Temple situates on a small rocky island off Koh Samui’s northeastern corner. Usually known as Wat Phra Yai among locals, its golden 12-metre-tall seated Buddha statue is one of the island’s most famous attractions. Set on Koh Faan, Big Buddha Temple can be reached by a causeway that connects it to the main island. The Big Buddha, which can be seen even from a distance of several kilometers, is without doubt the first landmark people see when arriving in Koh Samui by plane.

12-meter-tall golden Buddha image

The 12-meter-high statue built in 1972 situates in the temple premises of the Wat Phra Yai, which just means Big Buddha Temple.

People built the temple complex on a small island called Koh Farn, which is connected to the mainland Koh Samui through a causeway.

On the flank of a staircase is a mythical snake with the name of Naga, leading to the viewing platform, where you can see huge images at a close distance. From the platform, you can also see the surrounding beaches and Koh Pha Ngan in the north.

There is a pavilion on both sides of the stairs, in which there are smaller Buddha statues. Just a few years ago, a Dhamma wheel representing the teachings of the Buddha's path to enlightenment was added to the image.


Big Buddha Temple of Koh Samui


Subduing Mara posture

The Big Buddha sculpture sits in the Mara posture, with the upward-facing palm of the left hand resting on the lap and the right hand facing down. It describes a time during Buddha’s journey to enlightenment. He successfully subdued the temptations and dangers from the devil-figure Mara by meditating and remaining calm. The pose is a symbol of purity and enlightenment.

The Wat Phra Yai Temple grounds

There are many souvenir stalls in the open space of Big Buddha Temple, selling clothes, silverware, various souvenirs and Buddhist amulets, as well as shops offering drinks, snacks and food.

You can also find a meditation center on the ground of the temple. With a small donation, you can beat many large gongs using a wooden stick.

Fortune-telling: If you want to predict your destiny, with the information of what day of the week you were born, you can go to the fortune telling area to get some ideas about your future.

Buddhist devotees come daily to make offerings of fruit and flowers and light incense in Big Buddha Temple. Curious tourists are welcome to come and observe these graceful religious rituals any time of the day.


Praying at Big Buddha Temple Koh Samui


How to get to the Big Buddha Temple

The Wat Phra Yai situates on Big Buddha beach, which was once called Bang Rak beach on the North Eastern part of Koh Samui Island.

You can get to the Big Buddha Temple by taking the main Route 4169 up to the northeast region of Samui, before turning off onto Route 4171. The temple is about 3 km north of the Samui International Airport, 3 km east of Bophut Beach, and 7.5 km from Chaweng Beach.

Opening hours

The temple is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm, but for those hoping to catch a true cultural experience, it’s best to go in the early morning. You can see locals bringing offerings to the temple and monks do their morning homework.

Since this is a sacred place, do dress modestly. Wear shirts or scarves to cover the shoulders, trousers or long shorts.