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Discover Wat Plai Laem - Koh Samui


A couple hundred meters past the Big Buddha is the Wat Plai Laem, a very colorful temple. It’s been restored and repainted after the March 2011 floods, and has two cheerful statues, both seeking your attention: one is a laughing Buddha, and the other an 18-arm strong Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. If you’re looking for time away from noisy crowds, but have fun at the same time, Trip Guru recommends you visit this solemn yet beautiful temple.

Inside, there are elaborate Buddhist-themed art and architecture, perfect for photographing and appreciating the art. In a word that is busy all the time, take a moment to relax and contemplate during your stay in Thailand. What’s nice about the Wat Plai Laem is that it’s a lively and active temple, because aside from seeing the Buddha, devotees also pay homage to Guanyin. The murals and paintings depict the life of the Buddha, where budding artists and professionals can feel inspired by observing the various art techniques used as well.

Additionally, the temple is surrounded by a lovely lake that is full of fish. When visitors make donations, you can get a bag of fish food. The Thai people also release turtles or fish into the water as a way of attaining good karma, especially during particularly unfortunate times. There is also a lovely white laughing Buddha statue. This is a fat Buddha statue, which represents wealth and prosperity in Chinese culture. This is an exceptional statue, 30 meters high and painted in white, red and gold. There are gorgeously carved entry doors and a wonderful ceremonial hall on an island in the lake. When visiting, dress in clothes that cover up your shoulders and knees, and avoid wearing beachwear.

The Wat Plai Laem is open to visitors all day, and if you want to see even more liveliness, visit during Chinese New Year, or other Chinese festivals. The Wat Plai Laem is very close to the Big Buddha temple and is 3 kilometers away from Samui International Airport. Take route 4169 up to the northeast region of Samui, then turn off route 4171.



What our experts tell about this experience.
  • Iliana

    05. 09. 2016

    I was visiting Ko Samui with my friends and we also visited a few temples. Plai Laem temple was one if them, here it's more of a Chinese and Thai mix temple. not 100% Thai-ish. We paid our respects and remembered to dress well, covering a lot of our skin even though the temperature was able to BBQ a chicken right here in the sun, on a stick. The temple was filled with many beautiful statues. Was a nice visit.

  • Donovan

    05. 09. 2016

    Came to Wat Plai Laem with my family and gave some freedom to eels and turtles. It was really weird these eels.. But after listening to some minks telling us why the Thai locals here come and do this certain activity, we were all very into it. Say you were an animal, marine or from the land.. stuck.. No where to go.. No freedom? You'd want to die. Felt great for doing something for .. something - some one. Love the monks here!


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