Our second day in Koh Samui was a free day, we hired a taxi to take us to the Bang Rak Beach area and visit 2 two of the most popular attractions on the island. The first temple we visited was the Wat Phra Yai, home to the other Big Buddha of Koh Samui (see post on the Mountain Big Buddha) and later we headed to the Wat Plai Laem.
This buddhist compound features an 18-arm statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, a hall with wall to wall paintings depicting buddha’s story, as well as a laughing Buddha statue. Although some of the buildings have traditional Thai architecture, most of the complex is build in Thai-Chinese style.
Guanyin is very highly revered by Chinese people and she “is believed to be a source of unconditional love and a protector of all beings. Her multitude of arms is seen as an illustration of her ability to reach out and provide help across the world. She is also seen as a fertility goddess and many who come here pray for her help in bearing healthy children. As well, Guanyin is believed by some to help protect to sailors at sea”. KoSamui.com
This is an ubosot, the most important building in a buddhist wat or temple. The holiest prayer room, also known as a ordination or ceremonial hall. According to some online research, they may not always be open to the public. I am so happy this one was, because WOAH the ordination hall at Wat Plai Laem is a beaut! Ubosots always feature an alter with at least one Buddha image, this one had sooo many. I also loved that it looks like a lotus boat floating on the lake.
Laughing Chinese Buddha Statue
The last statue represents Budai, the Chinese-style “laughing Buddha”, who sits on the other side of the ubosot. Often considered to be an incarnation of Maitreya, a Buddha of the future. Budai is so chubby because he is said to have “swallowed up” the suffering of sentient beings. The highly Chinese-looking icon is depicted holding prayer beads with a huge grin on the face.
Off to the next adventure! Before that check out the previous Thailand posts:
Grandmother & Grandfather Rocks | Mummified Monk @ Wat Khunaram | Secret Buddha Garden | Mountain Big Buddha | Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple)