Thai artist Jarit Phumdonming had a part to play in the designing of this temple, which incorporates both the styles of Thai and Chinese architecture to its very modern yet traditional design. To this day, it serves as one of the most beautiful things to see on Ko Samui island, and should never be missed by the curious tourist.
It’s a highly colourful temple that will no doubt leave you awed, with its two tall ad mighty Chinese-style statues providing the vaster summary of entertainment and marvel when visiting. You may find yourself staring at the structures, and well you should – they’re difficult to peel your eyes away from once you’ve had so much as a look, thanks in large part to their beauty and overall contribution to the atmosphere of the temple.
The temple is found by an artificial lake, and only a few minutes car ride away from the Arch leading to the Great Buddha if you find yourself in the Plai-Laem village. It’s no hassle at all to get to, and the only hassle you’ll come across, if any at all, is the hassle of trying to convince yourself to go when it’s time to leave.
The statutes consist of the eighteen-handed Goddess of Mercy Guan Yin, who graciously protects sailors from dangers along the waters, provides healthy children to aspiring parents, and cares deeply for the sick and destitute. It’s a figure of high importance in the Thai culture, as well as the other statue – the Hotei (often called the Laughing Buddha, or Budai Buddha) statue. The last and most important of them all, arguably, is the statue of Buddha himself, guarded by naga snakes and making a gesture of peace, insisting that you don’t be afraid.
The temple’s interior is just as impressive as it exterior, with its many paintings and facades of the events that Buddha had experienced throughout his long and inspirational life. The value and cultural heritage is clear as day, making for a must-have experience for fanatics of Thai traditions and culture.
It’s worthy of note that this is a place of worship and culture, thus a place that ought to be treated with the most absolute respect by any and all visitors. Footwear should always be removed before entering the temples, and approaching the statues of the Gods. To do otherwise would be among the highest forms of disrespect to both the locals and the culture. The monks who worship at such places are known to be kind and understanding, but it would still do not to offend them. Covering up naked body parts such as the knees is also a recommendation!
Overall, the Wat Plai Laem is the place to go if the sights in Thailand that you’re looking for have less to do with its marvellous nature and more to do with its astonishing culture and history. Come by for an experience you won’t forget, nor regret, and make your trip to Thailand a complete one.
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