After going through weeks of “self-quarantine” or “confinement” in the city, one craves for a change of scenery. Playing atmospheric tracks on Spotify at home for months is at best, a short-lived remedy. The big question continues to loom at the back of your mind: What does the future hold in the post-pandemic world?
It’s always nice to be near the beach and have your senses soothed by the sea breeze and gentle sound of waves.
Koh Samui, Thailand’s second-largest island is a tranquil tropical paradise to cast your troubles away. The island has welcomed over 2.7 million holidaymakers since 2017. It is no doubt, one of the beach meccas in Southeast Asia. It is different from its big brother Phuket. How so? Think of Phuket as the destination you come to for action, and Samui as the haven of relaxation. For those who are planning for an ultimate beach vacation to find your zen, look no further than Koh Samui, and here’s why.
1. Secret Buddha Garden
A gem tucked away in the hills of inner Koh Samui, the secret Buddha garden features a unique collection of statues that is surrounded by sublime views and greenery. It is the brainchild of a fruit farmer, Nim Thongsuk, who began by building a temple and statues around his family’s verdant land.
The statues represent animals, deities, and humans in diverse poses, including the creator himself. Mainly inspired by Buddhist folklore, each work of art has a story to tell. He continued to work on this masterpiece until his death at the age of 91.
The garden also comprises of a waterfall and stream flowing through a plant organ, which gives life to the surroundings. It is ideal to visit during the day with a 4-wheel drive vehicle due to the challenging terrain that awaits with majestic views along the way.
2. Wat Khunaram
For this temple, there’s more than meets the eye.
There’s a mummified monk, Loung Pordaeng, who is kept on display in a glass casket. Some may find it a disturbing sight but for the Thais, it is meant to be worshipped and symbolises the belief that death should be embraced.
It seems that in 1973, Loung Pordaeng predicted his own death at the age of 79. Before his death, his followers were instructed to keep his body in a glass casket in the temple as an inspiration for people to follow the teachings of Buddha.
3. Samui Cultural Centre and Fine Art of S.E.A
Founded by Khun Chart, this cultural centre showcases the culture and religion in Thailand. Statues relating to myths and legends can be found. Besides that, replica garments from the royal family are also displayed.
4. Big Buddha
The golden 12m-tall statue of the seated Buddha was built in 1972, and symbolises steadfastness, purity and enlightenment. The scenic sea and beach view from the platform is simply awe-inspiring. There are also stalls selling collectables, souvenirs, and food.