The Buddha’s Secret Garden in Surat Thani province on Koh Samui is a private sculpture park on one of the island’s highest peaks. Also known as the “Heaven’s Garden” or the “Enchanted Garden,” it was created by Nim Thongsuk, an elderly fruit farmer who began constructing the garden on his family’s land in 1976 and continued to build it until his death. Set amidst lush jungle foliage, there are waterfalls and streams, as well as Buddha statues tucked away on a flat spot. The highlight of the Secret Buddha Garden is the sculptural group of angels and musicians. Apart from that, there are statues representing different aspects of Thai Buddhism, along with snakes, birds and other animals.
The green garden also houses the statue of Nim Thongsuk’s parents and his tomb. Since the Buddha Secret Garden is located on a hill, the view from the garden and the path is impressive.
Since this is not a religious site, there is no dress code to be followed. However, it is recommended to wear trousers as this is a nature walk. Many travelers complain of mosquito and insect bites after a few hours in the garden. It is recommended to bring insect repellent.
What are the highlights of the Secret Buddha Garden?
Secret Buddha Garden, also known as Namtok Tar Nim, Heaven’s Garden, or Magic Garden, is where every visit brings discoveries. With statues of all shapes and sizes dotted around the grounds, a wrong turn or a closer look behind a tree can reveal another hidden surprise. During his years of work, the founder of the Secret Buddha Garden, Khun Nim, was known as an innovative durian farmer who helped make Samui famous for this prized hot fruit. After his retirement, he developed his family’s land. To the public and assembled a team to develop the garden and sculpt many figures representing mainly Buddhist folklore. Each statue has a story, and most Thais will be familiar with the meaning and mythology behind these impressive works of art.
Secret Buddha Garden is located on top of the Tar Nim Waterfall. The views from within the gardens and the path leading there are spectacular. Along the way, you will find numerous stops where you can enjoy the panorama of the island.
How To Reach Secret Buddha Garden
The Secret Garden of the Buddha is 500 meters above sea level on a hill in Surat Thani province. To get there, follow Route 4169, which leads to Ta Nim Waterfall. The last 400 meters from Wat Khunaram near Lamai are dirt roads. The journey uphill usually takes between one and a half to two hours. It is considered dangerous terrain so rent a 4×4 vehicle, and only experienced drivers should attempt to drive here.
The layout of Secret Buddha Garden
The Secret Garden of the Buddha is the brainchild of a durian fruit grower named Nim Thongsuk. In 1976, he erected statues of animals, deities, and humans on his family’s land. Statues can be found everywhere, some hidden by trees and foliage, others adorned with streams and small temples. Nim Thongsuk spent decades perfecting this garden and making it a fascinating place to explore. The statues depict birds, snakes, animals, and people, but most are dedicated to Buddhist folklore.
Most Thai people will understand the mythology behind each of the statues. Cheeky, Nim Thongsuk also included statues of himself and his family, such as statues of his parents, his father holding his hand, and himself seated on a rock. The garden is quite extensive, and there is a lot to discover. The statues stand in the middle of nature, between coconut plantations, durian farms, and wild foliage. They are placed in a random pattern with little orientation. There is also a watercourse dividing the garden in half and small waterfalls.