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Wat Phra Yai In Koh Samui – A Complete Guide

Koh Samui Big Buddha Temple is one of the islands star attractions. Here’s everything you need to know about Wat Phra Yai.

How To Get To Koh Samui Big Buddha Temple

Koh Samui Big Buddha Temple is located on the North East corner of the island.

Close to both Wat Plai Laem, the 16 armed Buddha and adjacent to some of the best beaches in the north Maenam Beach and Bophut Beach. (With Fisherman’s Village also at Bophut Beach.)

We stayed in the Chaweng area of Koh Samui and rented a scooter for 150 Baht per day. This gave us access to the whole island!

It took us around 20 minutes to drive up from Chaweng to Koh Samui Big Buddha Temple.

If you’re looking for transport to and from Koh Samui, you can pre-book all of your Lomprayah transfers.

For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

Wat Phra Yai Entrance Fee

Entrance – FREE

Parking – FREE

Wat Phra Yai Opening Times

Daily: 7am – 10pm

Big Buddha Koh Samui Big Buddha Wat Phra Yai Big Buddha Samui
Koh Samui Big Buddha Temple in all it’s glory

Best Time To Visit Wat Phra Yai + Tips

We were pushed for time in Koh Samui, so we visited in the afternoon at around 2 o’clock.

This was possibly the worst time because of peak heat, hot stairs and glaring sun.

The best advice we can give is to hit it early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat.

Also, maybe don’t visit if it’s raining, as the stairs can become extremely slippery!

Apparently at night, the Big Buddha statue is lit by spotlights, creating an exotic sight and probably some unique and fantastic photo opportunities.

What To Pack

DSLR Camera: Canon EOS 90D

Tripod: Zomei Z666 Tripod

Day Bag: Manfrotto Manhattan Mover-50

Power Bank: Anker Power Bank PowerCore II

Reusable Water Bottle: Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Sunscreen: Banana Boat Sunscreen SPF-50

Rain Jacket: Columbia Lightweight Rain Jacket

Big Buddha Koh Samui Big Buddha Wat Phra Yai Big Buddha Samui
Wat Phra Yai – A work of art

Wat Phra Yai Dress Code

If there’s one rule to remember when visiting Thai temples, it’s to cover your SHOULDERS & KNEES!

This is meant to be the rule for both sexes, although usually it’s more focused on the women to be fully covered.

There is a guard on the gate checking all visitors before entering and luckily they provide scarves and gowns if you turn up ‘inappropriately dressed’.

Big Buddha Koh Samui Big Buddha Wat Phra Yai Big Buddha Samui
A self explanatory dress code sign at the entrance to Koh Samui Big Buddha Temple

What To Expect At Koh Samui Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai)

Wat Phra Yai is a very unique and beautiful temple that sits majestically just off Samui’s north eastern corner.

Built in 1972 this golden, 12m high seated Buddha statue is the island’s most well known attraction and landmark and can actually be seen from several kilometres away.

Having been floating around Asia for over a year and a half, we thought we’d seen it all in terms of temples. However, this Koh Samui Big Buddha is a stand alone.

Given its name, we were definitely expecting to see a BIG Buddha, but this is absolutely huge!

To reach the statue itself, you climb a large staircase that features impressive carved dragons. Once at the top you will find bells that a rung alongside the chanting of prayers.

At the base of the statue there are several different Buddhist temples and visitors can choose to donate some money and also receive a blessing from a monk.

The surrounding temple grounds are beautiful and there are lots of fantastic spots for some great photos.

There are also shops and restaurants to stop for some refreshments and get that all important souvenir.

Big Buddha Koh Samui Big Buddha Wat Phra Yai Big Buddha Samui
Charlie at the top of Wat Phra Yai staircase
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If you hang around the grounds, planes fly straight over Big Buddha Temple into Samui Airport.

Where To Stay In Koh Samui

Luxury – Tango Luxe Beach Villa Samui

Tango Luxe Beach Villa Samui offers tropical villas with a private pool and free WiFi.

It has a main infinity pool, two on-site restaurants and pampering spa treatments. 

Luxurious ocean-facing villas come with a 42-inch flat-screen TV, iPod dock and sun loungers.

The large en suite bathroom has a separate bathtub and shower stall. 

Tango Luxe Beach Villa Samui is a 5-minute drive from Seatran Ferry Pier, which offers transfers to Koh Phangan. It is 1.9 miles from Samui International Airport.

Mid-Budget – Mercure Samui Chaweng Tana

Located along Chaweng Road, the charming Mercure Samui Chaweng Tana features cosy and comfortable rooms with free WiFi.

Offering 2 dining options, the property also boasts an outdoor swimming pool with pool bar. 

Just 550 yards from the beach, the hotel is a 15-minute drive from Samui International Airport. Samui Ferry Terminal is a 30-minute drive away.

The Thai-style rooms come with wooden flooring and furnishings. Each room has a tea/coffee maker, a safe deposit box and a minibar.

Guests enjoy satellite channels on a flat-screen TV. An en suite bathroom comes with a shower.

Budget – Arina Boutique Residence

Just off Chaweng Beach Road, the family-run Arina Boutique Residence offers cosy rooms decorated with traditional Thai artwork.

Providing free Wi-Fi, it is just 2 minutes’ drive from central Chaweng. Arina Residence is a 30-minute drive from Nathon Ferry Pier and a 45-minute drive from Tong Yang Ferry Port.

Koh Samui Airport is a 15-minute drive from the hotel. 

Decorated with dark wood furnishings, rooms at Arina feature a private balcony and a 29-inch flat-screen cable/satellite TV.

For more places to stay in Koh Samui, you can check the latest prices on

More Thailand Blogs

The 7 Best Things To Do In Koh Samui – Our Ultimate Guide

Wat Plai Laem Koh Samui Temple & The 18 Armed Buddha

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Wat Phra Yai In Koh Samui (Big Buddha) Guide