—by Tracey Pedersen
If you’ve spent any extended amount of time in Southeast Asia, you might have discovered that you can become “templed out.” You most likely know that state; if you have to visit one more temple you’re going to scream!
The beautiful temples of Asia are one of the main reasons that people visit, and many will tell you that they remember exactly which giant monument was the first that they saw. For us it was visiting the Batu Caves in Malaysia. We were absolutely astounded at the sheer size of everything we came across!
For people visiting for just a week or two it can be important for them to visit as many tourist attractions as possible since they don’t have a heap of time. For those of us who can take a longer amount of time to travel, there comes a point when you need a break from visiting temples.
So why am I telling you that you need to see just one more temple?
Because it’s the awesome Wat Phra Yai near the W Retreat Koh Samui! Wat Phra Yai stands 12 metres high and can be seen by plane or boat as you approach from the north. It’s golden exterior glistens in the sun and makes a striking landmark.
Early morning or in the evenings is the best time to visit this temple which can get very busy. The morning and evening seems to be the time that the locals attend to pay respect to the Buddha. As the day wears on many visitors arrive and the area can be extremely crowded. If you plan on visiting Wat Phra Yai during a special occasion like Songkran or New Year then you definitely better plan to get there early as crowds can be huge.
There’s the usual assortment of souvenirs, clothing and food stalls all around Wat Phra Yai and you can buy your very own lucky amulet to take home with you. There’s a meditation area and even giant gongs that you can use for a small donation.
You should always wear respectful clothes at a temple and this one is no exception. Make sure your shoulders are covered and that you wear a long skirt or long pants before you enter. Carrying a sarong or two in your bag can be a great standby for those times you find yourself at a temple but aren’t correctly attired.
If you have the chance to see the big Buddha at night you should definitely do so with your camera in hand. Spotlights light up the statue and it is an awesome sight to see.
And after you’ve visited just this one more temple, you can have a rest. I swear!