Koh Samui is, above all, well known for its’ beautiful white sand beaches dotting the island, as well as for its production of coconuts for which it is Thailand’s leading producer. However, the remarkable temples which are found all over the country also attract tourists who wish to visit these cultural places of Buddhist worship. There are many reasons for travelers to explore Thailand’s temples: out of curiosity, for spiritual pursuit, love of architecture or interest in history. Koh Samui has many shimmering temples, some well known which attract many tourists and others that are less visited but no less fascinating.

Check out some of Koh Samui’s most fascinating temples:

Wat Plai Laem

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Located in the North East of the island, Wat Plai Laem is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful temples in Koh Samui. It incorporates elements of Chinese and Thai traditions and one of the main attractions is the huge white statue representing “Guanyin”, the goddess of Compassion and Mercy, with her 18 arms. Adding to the tranquility, the temple is surrounded by a lake, which is teeming with fish. Visitors who make a donation to the temple are given a bag of food to feed the fish.

Big Buddha Temple

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Big Buddha Temple is located on a small rocky island off Koh Samui’s northeastern corner. Known as Wat Phra Yai to the locals, its golden, 12-metre-tall seated Buddha statue was built in 1972 and remains one of the island’s most visited attractions. Around the base of the statue is a courtyard where vendors sell amulets, religious artefacts, clothing and souvenirs. There are also food stalls, small restaurants and cafes to enjoy a snack or a meal.

Laem Sor Pagoda

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Located on the peaceful south coast of Koh Samui you can find the Laem Sor Pagoda. It is usually only visited by a few tourists and therefore really calm. Its golden hue in contrast to the blue skies and the turquoise sea behind it makes for a great photo opportunity as there is absolutely nothing obstructing your view. Also there is a fantastic view of the nearby island Koh Madsum. Not far from Laem Sor Pagoda, on the top of a mountain, you can see Wat Rattanakosin, also known as Wat Khao Chedi.

Wat Pra Putta Teepangkorn

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One of the more recently built temples, perched at one of the highest points on the mountains it is perhaps the most difficult to visit due to the access roads which require a 4wd vehicle. It is becoming increasingly visited and is included in many of the island’s tours. However, if you make the effort the amazing panoramic views are definitely worth the visit. The large statue representing standing Buddha overlooks the jungles and the sea beyond.