We did the Laem Sor Pagoda as part of a day trip visiting temples and religious sites along the south coast of Koh Samui, hiring a taxi for about 1500 bht ($48) for the trip (3-4 hours). Wat Laem Sor lies at the most southerly part of the island, a temple area apparently constructed in the shape of a boat (a design which can only be seen from the hills beyond). It’s a kilometer or so off the main 4170 road but not well-marked so I’m not sure whether we’d have found it on our own.
As we pulled up to Bang Kao beach, on the temple grounds we saw an ornately designed chedi sitting at the rocky water’s edge. Covered in thousands and thousands of small yellow tiles, it appears golden when viewed from a short distance. To the west of the chedi is what appears to be a lake with mangrove trees and, with global warming, and the rising seas, it looks as though the shore here is being significantly eroded. A few metres to the east of the chedi we saw a low glass-fronted building, the Boat Hall. Inside the hall is a wooden boat and on the boat a glass case containing the mummified body of Pho Luang Dang, the monk who built the chedi. Famed for his meditation skills, he liked nothing better than to take a boat and visit one of the small islands offshore and spend some time there meditating. The Boat Hall was built after his death and in it are, in addition to the large boat, dozens of small models of boats. Apparently people pray to the monk and if their wishes are granted they purchase a model boat and place it in the Boat Hall as a gesture of thanks. We tried the doors but unfortunately they were locked so we could only gaze on this panorama from outside the glass.
Also in the Wat Laem Sor grounds, but a bit of a distance away, lies the Khao (mountain) Chedi. Apparently until recently this site was a ruin but it is now being rehabilitated. A fairly steep concrete road, which our taxi driver decided was too steep for her vehicle, travels up a small mountain, at the top of which can be reached stone stairs; at the top of these lies the temple chedi site. A graceful white pagoda, surrounded with many white and gold Buddhas, a large white boy-Buddha, and several shrines, including a large bell, beneath which a tableau of Buddhas being watched by Bambi was installed, greet the visitor. From the top, the panorama of Laem Sor Bay and the nearby islands is beautiful. Both chedis, the beachside golden one and the mountain top white one, are said to contain “bone-chips” of the Buddha in their foundations. Recommended. See more pictures here: http://lmaclean.ca/2011/12/koh-samui-south-island-temple-tour/
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