The Big Buddha
Despite the fact that I am still waiting for paperwork (an apparently all-consuming task) I decided to do some sightseeing today.
I went off to have a look at the big Buddha. This is probably Koh Samui’s biggest landmark so it seemed like a good place to start. The Buddha sits on top of one of Koh Samui’s big hills; it can be seen for miles. If you’re lucky you can probably see it from the plane as you arrive. I did not spot it unfortunately as I was on the other side. It is also free to enter but you can probably donate something if you want to (I did not actually see anywhere set up for that purpose, but who turns down a donation?).
My favourite motorbike taxi driver took me over there. His name is Mr Thawich, I am guessing that he is at least 50 years old and has few teeth but lots of smile. It was kind of interesting to see the site with a Thai person. When I got there at just after 10am there were mostly tourists around and I saw very few Thai’s, perhaps they come to pray in the evenings when it is cool. I had made sure I was dressed appropriately, but it turned out most visitors had not really worried about their clothing. I suppose it must be a relatively small site for Thailand. It basically consists of the Buddha, some steps decorated with dragons and two buildings that I saw monks in. Other than that the area is surrounded with small shops selling souvenirs and such like.
My driver did a high Wai and put his hands over his head quickly when he saw the statue. After that we climbed the stairs and after peering at the statue for a bit. Mr Thawich then found a pile of sticks to our right and picked out two. I had no idea why but then he pointed out the bells around the site and we started whacking them one at a time. That was amusing; they were all a bit different so they also rang differently. Partly, I like Mr. Thawich because he sometimes makes motorbike noises while driving slowly or turning, but partly I like him because even though I don’t understand much that he says he’s just so amiable.
I took some pictures, which seemed to be fine (other people were doing it and there was nobody to ask) and then we headed back. It’s a pretty site; it has lovely views of the sea. The architecture is also pretty impressive, but it is also a building site in places so it is not uncommon to see rolls of wire, dust and workmen about.
This place not the kind of place where you can spend the day but heading over to it, as it is out of the way, will let you get a sense of the island and what is around. It is a good spot to visit before taking on another activity like heading to the beach. Apparently Sunday is a good day to go (In the evenings) before heading down to Chaweng beach and listening to some music with the crowds. If you are visiting with family then I think any other day is calmer. You may prefer to go down to the beach afterwards and have a swim. Many of the nearby beaches also have shallow clear water that children might enjoy. I went on a Monday and saw few people at the beaches.
Here are my pictures, Hope you enjoy them.