One of Koh Samui`s most impressive landmarks and one that is difficult to miss is the approaching Koh Samui by plane from the North you will see the massive golden colored Buddha image overlooking the sea. The 12 meters tall image that was built in 1972 is located inside the temple grounds of the Wat Phra Yai, meaning Big Buddha temple. The temple complex is built on a small island named Koh Farn, connected to mainland Koh Samui with a causeway. Souvenir shops, silver shops, cloth shops and small restaurants are located within the grounds of the temple.
Only a few years ago a Dhamma wheel that represents the Buddha`s teachings of the path leading to Enlightenment, was added to the image. The Dhamma wheel, also called Dhammachakra or “The wheel of law” symbolizes the Dhamma, the Buddha`s teachings. The wheel is often seen in temples, sometimes accompanied by two deer. After reaching enlightenment, The Buddha held a first sermon at the Deer Park in Sarnath, thus setting in motion the wheel of Dhamma.
Tourists are definitely encouraged to visit Big Buddha, but you should remember that this is a religious site. All temples in Thailand, including Big Buddha, have a basic dress code. The basic rule is to cover your shoulders and knees (both sexes), and ideally you`d cover your ankles too. However, a pashmina or scarf worn around the shoulders over a tank top is acceptable.
The busiest day of the week is Sunday. As on Sundays many foreigners as well as local Thai people visit the temple to pay respect to the Buddha. They wish for things such as health, happiness and wealth, donating food, drinks, money and flowers to the Buddha and the temple.