Wat Phra Yai or Big Buddha temple is Koh Samui‘s most famous landmark. This temple has a 12meter (40foot) high Buddha statue located on the northeastern beach of Bang Rak (Big Buddha Beach).
The Buddha statue was built in 1972. Big Buddha Temple was built on a small island connected to Koh Samui by a causeway. The Statue is placed on an elevated platform that can be reached by a stairway flanked with Nagas (mythological serpents). The platform provides a great view of the neighboring island of Koh Phangan as well as Bang Rak beach.
Souvenir shops, silver shops, cloth shops, and small restaurants are located within the grounds of the temple. Big Buddha is a “must-see” while visiting Koh Samui. Most of the tourists/travelers coming to Koh Samui does not leave the island without a visit to the impressive Buddha statue. Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha) opens daily until early evening for visits.
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.