I t takes just few minutes to get to the village Plai-Laem by car from the Arch leading to the Great Buddha, if you travel north-west. Holiday-makers in Koh Samui come here in order to see festively and flamboyantly decorated Wat Nuan Naram, its another name is Wat Play Laem, located by the artificial lake and surrounded by giant Chinese Buddhist figures.
O n the right, there is an eighteen-handed Goddess of Mercy Guan Yin. She helps the impoverished, gives healthy children, and protects seamen from danger. On the left – Laughing Buddha, giving prosperity and careless joy, he is also known as Hotei or Budai Buddha. In the centre – the temple itself, standing on the huge lotus. Two custodian yaksas and two creeping down handrails naga-snakes guard him. By the entrance you will be met by the statue of Buddha, asking you with its gesture not to be afraid of anything.
T he interior of the temple is even brighter than its facade. Its walls, shutters and doors are covered with paintings showing the episodes of Buddha’s life. He is seated on the throne-lotus under the Bodhi tree – it is under the tree, where Prince Gautama reached enlightenment. Two young gilded monks stand in front of Buddha. If you cross the temple and leave it on the opposite side you can see a statue of an elder monk with a particularly vivid facial expression.
L ittle pedestrian bridges lead across the lake to the statues of Guan Yin and Hotei, under which craving for treats fish gurgle. If you donate a little to the temple, you will be given a whole sack of food to feed them. In the lake there are small mills spinning round in order to enrich the water with oxygen, and there are also swan-like pedal twin-hull ships! On the whole, there are a lot of interesting things in the surrounding Plai-Laem temple area, among them there are diverse colorful sculptures: for instance, a sculptural group ‘A monk and two women, rolling the Wheel of Existence’. And across the way, in the corner of the temple territory a gift shop selling souvenirs made of seashells can be found.
hat is important to know:You should take off your footwear at the entrance to the temple and before approaching the statues of
gods. Please be ready – in case of a really hot day – to walk barefoot along a very hot bridge. It is a sacred place, that’s why
it would be highly recommendable to stick to dress code: i.e. to cover naked parts of your body and bikini. Let’s not offend kind monks!
How to find the Wat Plai Laem or Nuan-Naram:In order to get to Wat Plai Laem you will need to go down a big ring-road (4169), then – road 4171. The temple is just few minutes trip away from the Big Buddha on Bangrack and 3 km away from the airport of Koh Samui.