August 16, 2012

Day 2 in Koh Samui – Round island tour

We rented a car and with the help of a map, explored the island.  Our first stop was Wat Phra Yai, home to Samui’s primary landmark, the Big Buddha, a 15m tall statue of the Buddha.  Built in 1972, it is set on Ko Faan, a small islet connected to the shore on the northeast coast of the island.

Nearby is Wat Plai Laem, featuring a striking white 18-arm image of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy.  Adding to its feel of tranquillity, the temple is surrounded by a lake, which is teeming with fish.  Other features at Wat Plai Laem include a large white laughing Buddha statue and and an elaborate ubosot (ceremonial hall) set on an island in the lake.

We then drove south heading towards Lamai Beach and stopped by this scenic outlook for some photographs.

Next stop was the Hin Ta & Hin Yai aka Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks, so named because they resembled the male and female genitalia, respectively.  The views from the rocks and vicinity are spectacular, stretching across the sea to nearby islands.

The famous Hin Ta & Hin Yai - the resemblance to the male genitalia is much more obvious

She humoured me when I asked her to do the jump :-)

We took a lunch break before continuing our journey to enjoy slightly cooler air up in the hills of the island’s interior.  There were many stops to enjoy the island panorama along the way.

We headed to the Secret Buddha Garden next.  Hidden away high in the hills, the garden houses an unusual collection of statues amid lush jungle surrounds, with a waterfall and stream flowing through.  The garden is a creation of an old Samui durian farmer, who in 1976 began erecting several statues and temples around his family's verdant land.  The statues depict a number of animals, deities and humans in various poses.  He continued developing his garden until his death at the age of 91.

We descended the hills and stopped by Wat Khunaram.  The revered monk of the temple, Luong Pordaeng died in 1973 in a seated meditative position, and since then, his body has been on display in an upright glass case at the temple.  Remarkably, even more than 30 years on, the monk’s body shows little sign of decay.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped by a local night market for a visual feast of all the street foods on sale.

 Variety of street snacks

There's even wine tasting and cocktail stands

Beautiful view at the end of the stretch of road 


Unknown said...

How come the monk is wearing sun glasses?

A Mom's Diary said...

Irene - probably to make him look less scary coz without the sunglasses, visitors will see the whole skull with sunken eye sockets and all.

Kit said...

You are so brave! No offence intended but I find the dead monk creepy.

There are Catholic saints whose bodies are preserved as well though I doubt I'd want to check them out LOL.

Did the girls look at him too?

A Mom's Diary said...

Kit - actually he did look quite creepy :-) Yes, the girls duly did the touristy thing and looked as well.

zmm said...