Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple)
Thailand, Surat Thani, Ko Samui District, Ko Samui, 4171, Wat Phra Yai
The Buddhist temple of Wat Phra Yai can be found on the small island of Koh Pahn within Koh Samui, Thailand. While the locals call it by that name, many of the English-speaking visitors choose to call this amazing attraction the Big Buddha Temple. The name comes from the fact that there is a thirty-nine-foot Buddha statue that is painted gold.
The temple itself was constructed during the 1940s and people have been traveling to this religious attraction since then to pray. Although, some people simply visit Wat Phra Yai to see the ornate mirrored tiles and gold that covers every inch of the sides of the temple. The crowds have only grown each year since the temple opened, but everyone is quite respectful of the others who are seeking tranquility amongst the spectacular views.
The massive statue displays the Buddha in a calm state, showing his purity and resolve. He is in a seated position, known as the Mara posture by the locals, with his left palm open and facing up in his lap, while his right hand is facing down on his right knee. The large Buddha was constructed in 1972 and at night, there are spotlights that shine onto the statue, lighting him up magnificently. The glowing silhouette looks mysterious as it lingers so close the dark sky.
As people climb up the stairs to the temple, they will see not only golden dragons, but seven headed mythical snakes coming out of a dragon’s mouth. At the top of the stairs, there are numerous Buddha statues in multiple positions and each one represents a different day of the week.
There is a line of bells at this temple, and if a person uses a large stick to ring the bells, it is said that they will have good luck in the future.
The best time to visit Wat Phra Yai is in the morning, when the monks are saying their prayers and the locals bring gifts of food, flowers, and incense. There are many different stalls near this temple, and they all sell souvenirs, drinks, food, and flowers.
Everyone that chooses to visit this temple must be dressed appropriately. That means wearing pants or long shorts along with a shirt that covers their shoulders. Visitors must also remove their shoes before entering the temple, as a sign of respect to the Buddha and all the locals that stop to pray.
No one can miss this temple when they are spending time in Koh Samui, because the Buddha can be seen for miles. In fact, visitors will see it for the first time when they land at the airport to begin their time in Thailand. While it is magnificent from afar, everyone must make sure that they get up close to see the intricate details that have calmed the locals and other visitors for many years.