Wat Plai Laem is located in the north of the island, not far from from Big Buddha, next to Chaweng. It is more correct to call it Wat Plai Lam, but thanks to the transliteration of Thai sounds into Latin, Russian-speaking tourists call it mainly «Bark». Be that as it may, the temple complex consists of three buildings built on stilts in the middle of an artificial reservoir: a statue of the goddess Kuan Yin, a statue of Hottei, and the Plai Laem temple itself in the center of the ensemble. Opposite them, on the shore of the pond, there is another temple, the older and more canonical Wat Lam Suvannaram.
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Wat Plai Laem - temple complex on the pond
The place is very popular with tourists, which affects the number of people who are constantly there, but still, in my opinion, it is a must to visit. It is very unusual and not only stands out on the scale of the island, but will please even a sophisticated traveler. And I, who probably saw about a hundred Thai temples, really liked this complex. But I, in principle, like to look at the architectural embodiment of the imagination of the Thais, so perhaps there is a bit of bias here - you will decide for yourself when you visit this part of Samui.
Despite the not very pleasant weather and gray sky, as you can see, I got excellent pictures - there is something sparkling on every building, the place is so bright and colorful. I even admit that the first thought that slipped through my head was to get the quad and shoot everything from the air. Only here the quadrocopter did not come with me this time, unfortunately. I had to walk through a huge territory with a simple camera and notice all the details of the attraction.
If you stand facing the pond in the center of the complex, then opposite you will be the central building of the Plai Lam complex - the Plai Lam temple. It is considered obligatory to take off your shoes immediately after you pass the bridge over the pond, in front of the steps of the temple. Some have done it before, but they all have their fanatics, so ignore.
Behind you there will be an old temple, which is constantly closed for visits. Usually, everyone leaves cars and scooters near it, although this is not the shadiest place on the territory. Near the temple there is a small sculpture of an ascetic, who are revered in Thailand along with the Chinese gods and the gods of Hinduism - Thais are very tolerant in terms of religion.
To your left there will be a small square and a covered building, the place where the monks receive the blessing. From this building there is a bridge to Hottei - a Buddhist deity surrounded by various sculptures from Hinduism. By the way, next to the place for blessings there are old machines that for 20 baht pour you a plate of food for the fish that teems the pond. At the entrance to the bridge there is a small pool with plastic balls from kinder surprises, inside of which are predictions, and you have to catch one of them with a special net, for a moderate fee, of course. Even to the left of the Hottei statue, on the shore of the pond there is one of the largest shops with shells and shell decorations, there the choice is like in a museum, the prices are quite reasonable and it will even be very interesting to take a look.
To your right and from the Plai Laem Temple, on the pond is a multi-armed statue of the Chinese goddess, Mother of Mercy Kuan Yin. Opposite it, the bridge rests on a green shady section of the shore with a lawn, on which it is not forbidden to sit or lie down - the main thing is to check that chickens do not walk here before you, which are dark here. I tell the parents of babies right away that roosters can be aggressive, and chickens are also not very kind when someone climbs up to the chickens, so do not let the baby go far away from you, otherwise it will get a beak in the eye. In this corner of the pond there is a free access to the water and therefore it is here that the largest gathering of people is observed during the Loi Krathong holiday.
Information to visit
Getting here is easy. If you go from Bang Rak, the same road as to Big Buddha, only you need to drive further half a kilometer, there will be an intersection with the only mini-market 7-Eleven for the whole Play Lam. Drive through the intersection in any direction until the nearest exit towards the temple. You can enter from both sides. As a landmark - there is always a noise from the school at the church, many children in green uniforms run on the street, so you need to drive carefully in that region. Entrance to the territory is available around the clock, the territory is not closed at night. Parking can be problematic during the holidays, keep this in mind if you are driving.
On certain days, temple fairs are held here (the schedule does not exist in nature, do not even look, the schedule is completely random), and on large Buddhist holidays services and events are held here. By the way, a beautiful holiday Loy Krathong, which everyone runs to take pictures on Lake Chaweng (such as the largest freshwater reservoir), it looks best on the pond of the Plai Lam temple. There are always fewer people here, the scale of the location is also more compact, which creates a feeling of coziness and tranquility.
On the map
Plai Lam Temple Complex
Plai Lam Temple Complex
A modern temple complex with a large pond and a mixed Sino-Indian-Thai style temple, with many sculptures, including the Laughing Hottei and the multi-armed goddess Guanyin.
More about the temple complex.
A modern temple complex with a large pond and a mixed Sino-Indian-Thai style temple, with many sculptures including the Laughing Hottei and the multi-armed goddess Guanyin..