Just off the coast, a golden Laem Sor Chedi Pagoda stands at the western end of Bang Kao Bay Beach. A closer look reveals that it is not made of gold but inlaid with small mosaic yellow squares that shimmer in different shades under the bright sun, deceiving impressive tourists. Inside the pagoda are many small Buddha images: some in the pose of meditative contemplation. In contrast, others hold the bowl of mercy or encourage us with a preventive gesture (a mudra of fearlessness). And one of the Buddhas, facing the sea, has his palms crossed on his chest: it symbolizes “the union of bliss and emptiness.”
Have you ever seen a beautiful and mesmerizing temple on the coast? Well, the Laem Sor Pagoda on the southern tip of Samui is the epitome of beauty. The Great Pagoda embodies old-school Srivijaya-style architecture and is Samui’s hidden gem. One of Koh Samui’s most famous tourist spots, the somewhat challenging journey to the temple will give you a whole new island experience.
Things to do in Laem Sor
On one side, facing visitors, are two turquoise-faced guards protecting the Laem Sor Pagoda. They are fearsome yakshas, nature spirits. Indeed you have already seen them in the Wat Phra Kaew temple in Bangkok. Small shop just in front with a statue of the founding monk Prakru Piboon Thammasan, guarded by merciful Buddhas and lions from the mythological forest Himmapan. Also of great interest is a figure placed in a small artificial pond with carp.
She is the goddess Mother-of-the-Earth (Phra Mae Thoranee), pouring water from her hair. Thus she created the deluge that swept away Mara, the seducer of the Buddha, and his entire troop.
The area around Laem Sor Stupa is a public garden for recreation, meditation, celebrations, and weekend picnics. There are tables with benches, a toilet, and a few stalls with fresh fruit and ice cream. The area is popular with dogs, dazed from the heat, with puppies playing and roosters and hens roaming about.
Why is Laem Sor Pagoda special?
Laem Sor Pagoda is located in the southwestern part of Koh Samui, very close to Bang Kao village. If you follow Route 4170 past Baan Bang Kao village, you will see that the road turns into a smaller path that leads to the beach where the pagoda stands proud. A short word, as with all Buddhist temple shrines and the like, it is important not to disrespect these places of worship, so please dress appropriately. Thais are very tolerant people and forgive minor missteps. However, giving a monk a head massage with your knuckles is a big no-no.
The Laem Sor Pagoda or Chedi Laem Sor is also known locally as a fully functioning temple where people come to worship. The temple itself shines from afar like a golden beacon, the temple is not made of gold, but bright yellow tiles were used in its construction which gives it that glow. Located near the beach and the blue waters of Samui, it looks even more beautiful when the sun is shining bright.
Laem Sor Pagoda was built in 1968 to bring a small piece of sacred Buddha relics from Kao Chedi Pagoda, which is not far from the hill. However, it was a temporary decision, and the shrine has been returned to its original location.
Laem Sor Stupa is located 11 km south of Lamai Beach and 16 km from the small town of Nathon. To reach it on your own, you must first take the ring road (4169) and then turn onto road 4170, the best in the Ban Sa Ket settlement area. From Road 4170, follow a road sign and turn onto Laem Sor Road – “Lam-Sho Road” (one of the variants of writing a Thai name with Latin letters).