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At the far north area of Samui between Bang Rak and Choeng Mon you find the classic Big Buddha. A big statue, 12 meters (40 foot) high, placed on the top of a big podium which you can reach by a stairway. There are also some smaller temples here but it doesn’t have that classic beauty as most temples usually have. The temple area is set on a small islet which is connected by an unpaved road that leads about 200 meters (650 foot) to the main island and it doesn’t feel like a place made to attract tourist as much as one could expect.
When entering the area from there are a few stores at each sides of the road. There are one way to the left and another straight ahead. If following the way straight ahead you can park your motorbike, if you have one, just anywhere you think is suitable on this small center area. Here are a few more stores where you can buy souvenirs. To the left you will see the Big Buddha on top of the stairways and on each side of the stair there are small areas to pray. If you come right in time maybe you see and hear the monks chanting together, usually in the small temple to the left. Tourists are of course also welcome to pray as long as the monks aren’t performing their rituals at the moment. Notice that proper clothing are always something to bear in mind when entering a temple area. At Big Buddha the monks have been VERY tolerant but tourists took more and more advantage of this and some people came in bathing clothes or minimal clothes which is very impolite. Now you will see a sign stating that bathing suites are not OK and a sign like this is crazy to see in a temple area where you should use clothes covering at least the knees and a proper top. This is not only regarding the females.
Keep Your Shoes On!
At any temple you should leave your shoes outside or if there is a podium outside leave the shoes before stepping up. However the sun tend to heat up the Big Buddha stairway at sunny days to a point that people got real foot-burns. I have at a few occasions been running as crazy up the red colored middle stairway a few times, and it is not funny at all, IT HURTS BAD!
You will see a sign below the stairs for this as well. If the weather isn’t very hot you show proper respect by leaving your shoes below the first step up on the podium.
By the Side of Big Buddha
When you are on top of the podium along side the Big Buddha you can enjoy a great view and maybe spot an airplane land or take off. They have their course straight over this area which can be quiet nice.
Along the edge of the podium you will see the classic bells “Rakang” which will bring good luck if ringing all of them which is usually done by a piece of wood.
There are also statues placed around the Big Buddha, one for each day of the week. These are birthdays statues which you can pray to and also give a specific amount of coins to. What amount differs depending on what day you are born on.
Before you leave you can buy a brick which you will find just below the stairs and you can then write any message on it if you want. The Thai people usually write their name or a message to anyone who died. By doing this you contribute to make new temples and improvements at the area. Look how much a brick cost and just put the money in the box by the side.