Copyright Chris Frost 2019 | All Rights Reserved

Koh Samui, 2024

Our first villa

An initial morning view from our villa in Bang Por, Koh Samui. We arrived at midnight, having landed in Koh Samui and been told that my luggage was still in London! The airline told us my luggage should arrive today and will be delivered here (it did, but one case was damaged beyond repair). Our villa has a wooden deck and a small pool. Beyond the deck is the beach, just a few metres from the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

Our second villa

After a month in Bang Por, we moved south to a villa in Bang Kao, near the beach but not on the beach. The villa is beautiful, but a bit faded over time in places. It is hotter in the south of Samui, but we are getting used to the warmer, more humid air. Instead of the sound of waves breaking on a sandy beach, we have a chorus of cockerels and wild birds during the day and crickets and frogs after the sun has set.

While we were there, a storm came through  so Mrs F and I went down to the beach to enjoy watching the waves crashing against the shore, while standing in torrential rain

Wat Khunaram

On display in an upright glass casket and surrounded by flowers, candles, incense sticks, and fruit offerings is the body of Koh Samui’s most famous monk, Loung Pordaeng.

For many Westerners, this might be an uncomfortable or even disturbing sight; for Thai people, the body of the monk is there to be worshipped, and death is seen as an opportunity to be reborn in the next and better life. The mummified body of Loung Pordaeng is kept in a glass casket in a temple building in Wat Khunaram temple, which was specially built for this purpose.

Red Stone Coffee

One of the best coffee shops on the island. Watching Pum Pum make a cappuccino is like watching an artist at work.

Cool Bar Samui

The best secluded bar on the shores of southern samui, hosted by the coolest couple on samui “Doungnapa & Un”

Wat Teepangkorn

Wat Teepangkorn is located at the highest viewpoint on the island- 605m. A large golden Buddha ‘Pra Buddha Dipankara’ stands at the center of the sight. From here there is a panoramic 360-degree view of the island overlooking Lamai beach and the coconut groves below. Access is by some very steep roads, some of which are in poor condition.

Bang Por

Located on the northwest corner of KohSamui, Bang Por beach lies between Nathon and Maenam. The beach itself is sandy, with calm waters that are ideal for year-round swimming. The area enjoys a genuine feeling of community, with upscale restaurants, spas and yoga studios catering to familiar locals and recurring visitors.

There is no annoying night-time revelry in the immediate area to disturb the beach’s rare tranquillity. While Bang Por Beach enjoys a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, the busier Bophut Beach and main tourist enclave of Chaweng Beach and its shops and nightlife are a comfortable 10-20 minute drive away.

Ban Tai beach

Koh Samui sunset

Ban Tai is a small beach, that is seldom marked on maps. But those in the know call it a secret paradise corner of Koh Samui. However, it is not so difficult to find this miracle, as connoisseurs promise. Ban Tai is situated in the north if the island, between extensive beaches Maenam and Bang Po. A turn to Ban Tai from the ring road is marked with a blue sign, on which it is written with big letters ‘This way to the public beach’. It is also possible to orient yourself by a white sign of the hotel ‘Mimosa’ and another for the ‘Cape Away Bar’, which adorns a target turn.

Wat Phra Yai – Big Buddha

Wat Phra Yai, known in English as the Big Buddha Temple, is a Buddhist temple on Ko Phan (also spelled Koh Fan or Koh Faan), a small island offshore from the northeastern area of Ko Samui, Thailand, connected to that island by a short causeway 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) north of Samui International Airport. As its name indicates, it is home to a giant, 12-metre-high (39-foot) gold-painted Buddha statue. Since being built in 1972, it has become one of Ko Samui’s main tourist attractions and a major landmark.

Wat Plai Laem

Wat Plai Laem is a wat on the  island of Ko Samui, Thailand. Like the nearby Wat Phra Yai or “Big Buddha Temple”, it is a modern Buddhist temple. The temple’s design incorporates elements of Chinese and Thai traditions and was in part designed by distinguished Thai artist Jarit Phumdonming. Its main statue, which is in Chinese style, is not of Gautama Buddha. It is a form of the bodhisattva of compassion and mercy, Avalokiteśvara, called Cundi. This form of the deity is known in Chinese as “Guanyin with eighteen arms”.

In addition to the main statue, there is also a white statue of Budai and smaller shrines dedicated to Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva and Sakka.

Mae Nam Night market

A food market used by Thais to go shopping. The food stalls offer with snacks and main courses found first and including tempura prawns, barbecued squid, curried meat dishes with rice, samosas and pizza slices. Following is the dessert section with its delicious ice creams, pancakes with fresh fruit syrup, mangoes and many other varieties of fruit. Or you can buy fresh produce – meat, vegatables and fish.

Wat Khao Hua Jook

Wat Khao Hua Jook traces its history back several centuries. It’s named after the “Hua Jook” tree, under which Buddha was believed to have attained enlightenment. This Buddhist reference gives the temple a sacred status, drawing devotees from far and wide. It’s worth noting that the “Jook” is also a symbol of longevity and resilience, reflecting the enduring significance of the temple. The chedi, an architectural marvel, houses a Buddha relic. This 12-meter high structure is adorned with intricate carvings that reflect the timeless beauty of Thai temple art. Statues of deities and mythical creatures, finely chiseled and gilded, guard the temple grounds, adding to its mystical aura.

Wat Khao Chedi

The wat of Khao Chedi is a pagoda that originates from Thai culture. It was built in the Srivijaya-style and sits on a hilly terrain above Laem Sor. The snow-white stupa is surrounded by twenty gilded statues of Buddha.

Chinese temple of Guanyin

Located in the south of Koh Samui, this tempole is off the beaten track and does not rank alongside the better known temples. This is about to change as a major construction project is taking place in from of the older temple. Located on the south coast, nerarr Ban Taling Ngam, this is worth a visit. The road leading to the temple has two or three packs of dogs that block the road in hope that drivers will give them treats.

Nathon Hainan temple

The Hainan temple in Nathon is a traditional brightly coloured Chinese temple, located just off the main road. This traditional temple complex, which was built in 1862, consists of several colourful buildings, with small shrines filled with Chinese gods and goddesses and a well-maintained garden with statues of mythical beings and symbols. The main building is surrounded by a walled garden, and the traffic noise is virtually non-existent inside, making it a peaceful and tranquil place to visit. I was lucky enough to meet some locals who told me about the temple and explained how I could pray there. The huge Guan Yu statue is just one of the many statues in the temple.

Wat Phra Chedi Laem So

On the very seashore, in the western end of the beach of Bang Kao bay there is a golden pagoda Laem Sor Chedi. On closer inspection, one can see, that it isn’t made of gold, but it is encrusted with small yellow squares of mosaic, which, shining with different shades under the bright sun.

Debbie’s Wiilys Jeep

Our host, Debbie and her husband, took us out to luch at th New French Kiss restaurant in the south of Koh Samui. On the way back from an amazing meal, she let me drive her Willys Jeep, manufactured just after WW2. I was delighted to have the chance to experience driving a Jeep that was vewry similar to the one my father drove in Burma and Saigon during and jusr after WW2.

Wat Khao Pom

Wat Khao Pom is worth the drive up into the hills for the view and the opportunity to visit this magnificent little temple. A bit off the beaten track, so there is no Facebook location for this gem. A new temple buliding is under construction, which will make this an even more imposing site soon.

Si Khao night market

This Chaweng markey offers a wide range of Thai food and snacks. Frequented by both Thais and tourists, this the place to go to experience authentic Thai street food. Compared with to the night market at Fisherman’s Wharf, this a treat.  The Fisherman’s Wharf night market is where you find hundreds of tourists and no locals and is usually so so crowded that you can hardly walk. The Si Khoa night market is a far better option. Opens at 6pm.

Wat Pradoem

This temple may be completely unnoticed, but it is already more than 230 years old, and it is believed that this is the very first Buddhist temple built on Koh Samui. There are almost never any tourists here, and locals visit it en masse only on holidays, so almost certainly if you come here on a weekday, you will be completely alone here.

The temple is a whole complex on which there are several viharns (one of them is wooden and very old, with a massacre), kuti (a room for monks), a drum tower. Unfortunately, not all rooms of the temple are open on weekdays, and the most interesting thing, namely the old wooden viharn, most likely, is not on public view.

Wat Lamai

Wat Lamai is an old Buddhist temple located in Ban Lamai, also known as Lamai beach. This temple is special because it serves important purposes other than just being a place of worship.
This is a significant attraction in Koh Samui because it houses Buddhist artefacts in its museum and features a cultural hall used for public events, including funerals and weddings.

Wat Ratchathammaram

Wat Ratchathammaram is a Buddhist temple along the Samui Ring Road. It also goes by the name Wat Sila Ngu, which means ‘stone snake’ in English. You can see many stone-carved snakes all around the compound.

This long-established temple has a magnificent building in deep red clay, which adds to the mysterious yet serene atmosphere of the temple. The large room it houses is pretty sombre, with its walls entirely carved with scenes of Buddha’s life. Wat Ratchathammaram’s seaside location affords splendid views of Koh Samui’s east coast.

Guan Yu Shrine

Located on the 4169 ring road is the Guan Yu Shrine Samui. South of Lamai situated in Hua Thanon, it the impressive Guan Yu Chinese Statue. Officially opened in January 2016 the Guan Yu Shrine is 16 meters in height. The Big Buddha Statue in Kao Fan is 12 meters and Guan statue 4 meters taller. The Guan statue stands at the same height as the Big Buddha without the pedestal the statue sits on. The original construction work for the statue and the temple began in 2012 and continues to the present day.

The shrine displays and preserves the traditional Chinese artefacts. Within the Guan Yu Shrine Samui is a Chinese tea room. Behind the statue of Guan are a museum and gift shops. The views of Hua Thanon Harbour are amazing. The traditional long tail boats adorn the harbour on the Hua Thanon Beach. Old photos hang on the walls at the shrine giving an insight to Guan Yu and Chinese Samui heritage. The shrine holds religious festivals and weddings and the funds raised are used for the upkeep of the temple.

I-Beach bar

Just down the road from Bank Kao is a great little beach bar that serves great food (Thai and European) and a wide selec5ion of drinks. The beach is one of the nicest around here and has clear, warm water that is just perfect. The access road gets a little narrow in places and thde parking facilites by the I-Beach Bar are limited. However, the loaction and ambiance make the trip worthwhile.

Wat Samret

The temple is just a little over a century old, so it’s not as historic as many of Koh Samui’s other temples. However, the main attraction is its small statue of Buddha in a seated position, which has been carved out of a single piece of marble. Many believe that the statue is the most ancient of all Buddha statues on the island, while others believe that it was brought to Thailand from Burma. A separate building houses another Buddha statue, which is surrounded by around 80 others. The Reclining Buddha is a distinct feature of the temple, while all others are in the Calling the Earth to Witness position, known as the Subduing Mara in Thai Buddhism.

Ban Bang Kao

Our local Reggae Bar on the beach organised a Valentine’s Day event this evening, with food and drink stalls, music and fireworks. The local mayor opened the event with a short speech. Nice to see most of the people attending the event were locals. There was even a playpen for the kids. The mayor’s speech was delivered from the stern of a wrecked boat that doubled as the stage for the band. A band of rain clouds passed overhead, which dampened proceedings for around 5 minutes.

Hua Thanon Wet Market

The emphasis here is on seafood. You’ll find tuna and other fish one doesn’t normally see at Thai markets, as well as scavenged shellfish and freshly-caught squid. There’s also a selection of dried fish, seafood-based condiments such as shrimp paste, and other local items such as edible seaweed and cashews. Head south from the market and wind around the lanes, homes, mosque and port that form the neighborhood of the almost exclusively Muslim fishermen

Buddha’s footprint

An important symbol in Buddhist teachings, the Footprint is said to reflect Buddha’s mortal presence on Earth. There are over 3000 throughout Asia, some said to be natural relics, others man-made. These days Samui’s man-made version is a seldom-visited attraction. This may be because there once were great views from the hillside location to the sea, but the surrounding vegetation has all but squeezed that view out. There are roughly 150 steps that wind up the side of the hill through thick jungle vegetation. It is like an Indiana Jones movie scene, with the sound of wild birds and insects in the surrounding jungle complementing the image.

Wat Sawang Arom

This temple is completely made in white and was built in 2017. The temple is located in a monastery complex in Chaweng.

Previous visit

Our last visit here was in March 2023:

Koh Samui 2023

 

 

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