Big Buddha beach is one of the most famous tourist attractions and whilst it does attract visitors throughout the day, it has escaped the influx of tourists of the more popular Koh Samui tourist destinations. Big Buddha Beach is located on the islands north coast and is well known for the 12 metre high golden Big Buddha statue that dominates the surrounding landscape. Although the correct name for the area surrounding Big Buddha Beach is Bangrak the area is better known for the statue of the Lord Buddha which sits on a small hill on the tiny island of Koh Farn at the eastern end of the beach. Big Buddha beach is not the largest of Koh Samui's beaches but still offers stunning tropical scenery with the same island charm as other areas of Koh Samui.
A trip to Bangrak would not be complete without visiting the magnificent Wat Phra Yai Temple, better known as the Big Buddha statue and it is important to understand local customs, as this towering marvel is not just Koh Samui's most popular tourist attraction but an important part of religious belief and everyday life of the local Koh Samui population. Surrounding the temple are several small shops and craft stalls selling souvenirs, a few cafes, houses and a school making it an ideal spot if you want a refreshment break while watching the locals go about their daily life.
While Bangrak may not have the busiest hotels and resorts on the island, it has a good selection of mid range hotels and some excellent dining opportunities. it attracts tourists and local residents alike from across Koh Samui on Sundays when it hosts the Secret Garden Festival with lively music sessions right on the beach. With Big Buddha beach in close proximity to Bophut, Plai Laem and Choeng Mon beaches, you can take the short ride to any of these alternatives for a change of scenery but do not expect more activity than Bangrak. If a day on the beach or touring Fisherman's Village is not on the agenda, you can always spend the day on Koh Phangan, a remarkable island situated off Koh Samui's northern coast.
Bangrak was not as popular with beach going tourists until recently and apart from a handful of backpackers, Big Buddha beach was largely untouched by commercial development. However, in recent years, Bangrak has seen a steady growth in popularity and new developments are constantly sprouting up along it's coastline including hotels, restaurants, shops and villas. Most of the villas are along the beaches at Big Buddha and Bangrak although there are a growing number of villas only a short distance back from the beach. Apart from the golden Big Buddha statue, Big Buddha beach, best known as a popular jumping off point to the all night Full Moon Parties held on the nearby island of Koh Phangan, with regular ferry and speedboat transport operating between the two islands. If you want a relaxed spot away from the tourist activity then Big Buddha beach is definitely worth consideration. Fine white sand and shallow water make for safe swimming and Big Buddha beach is a popular spot for families with younger children although its close proximity to the airport can be a bit of an inconvenience.