Big Buddha Beach, or Bangrak Beach, is one of the most popular and fast-developing beaches on the island of Koh Samui. Big Buddha Beach benefits from its location and its stunning beach, as well as its selection of restaurants, hotels, activities, and nightlife. Check out all you need to know about Big Buddha Beach with this handy guide.
Big Buddha Beach Koh Samui/ Image via BenGrantham/ Flickr
Background to Big Buddha Beach
The location of Big Buddha Beach is convenient for both the airport on Koh Samui, and the main resort beach of Chaweng. While Big Buddha may not be the quietest location due to its proximity to the airport, you won’t find noise much of a problem here. Big Buddha Beach is located in the north of Koh Samui and has easy transport links to Koh Pha Ngan. The ease of access to Chaweng also makes this a good destination for people who want to be close to, but not right in the heart of, the action on Koh Samui.
All about the Beach
The beach at Big Buddha is a long, wide stretch of sand that is backed by palm trees and met by a clear, calm ocean. The beach is generally a lot quieter than the beach at Chaweng, and does not attract as many people. You are more likely to be able to find a spot of sand all to yourself on this Koh Samui beach. Swimming is good here and the beach is safe for families and children. Not a lot of water sports take place, which adds to the tranquil charm.
Attractions and Benefits of Big Buddha Beach
Big Buddha is one of the best places to catch a speedboat or a ferry from the island to the nearby island of Koh Pha Ngan, the place where the legendary Full Moon parties take place. Big Buddha has long been the destination of choice on Koh Samui for backpackers but now the area is attracting more families and tour groups due to the availability of cheaper accommodation plus the attraction of a relaxed atmosphere.
Big Buddha is home to many local shops and places to buy the essentials as well as souvenirs and interesting goods. There are a few Fresh Markets in the area selling produce, fresh fruit, vegetables, and seafood.
Big Buddha Nightlife
While Big Buddha is not as lively at night as Chaweng, this appeals to people looking for a more laidback nightlife scene. There are plenty of bars and restaurants, plus a handful of clubs, for enjoying yourself when the sun sets. Find some British pubs like the Elephant & Castle, as well as tapas bars, beer bars, and lively rock bars. You will also find sports bars showing live sports action, and bars with live music. If you want to have a relaxed drink during the day most of the beachfront places have outdoor seats and serve a variety of drinks and snacks.
Big Buddha/ Image via MizterForbz/ Flickr
What to See in Big Buddha
Of course, the most popular attraction and sight in Big Buddha Beach is the Big Buddha statue itself. Perched at the north end of the beach, the Wat Phra Yai temple is home to the statue, which is 12 meters tall and set at the top of a stairway embellished with dragons. There are a few small art shops at the top selling jewelry and souvenirs. The view from the top over the beach and the surrounding area is worth seeing.
In addition, you could pay a visit to the Samui Crocodile Farm which is located behind Koh Samui airport. This Samui attraction houses over 100 different animals including Siam crocodiles, saltwater crocodiles, lizards, monkeys, and snakes. There is a crocodile show and you can feed some of the animals.
What to Do in Big Buddha
Big Buddha Beach is the ideal place for the departure on a sailing tour. You can book a place on a cruise to the Angthong National Marine Park, or to Koh Pha Ngan. Or you could take part in a diving trip. Diving is popular from Big Buddha Beach – tour operators take you to various dive sites on one-day or multi-day dive tours.
Restaurants in Big Buddha
You’ll find plenty of choice for eating and drinking close to the ocean. Antica Locanda serves pizzas and pasta, while the Dancing Crab is the place for fresh seafood and fish. My Friend Restaurant is a favorite for Thai food, while Sweet Asia Restaurant is recommended for its international and Thai food menu. The Samui Pier Restaurant is a good place for watching the sunset with a cocktail and a view of Koh Pha Ngan. The Quayside Samui Restaurant also has a terrace for watching the sunset.
For more Koh Samui information, check out the posts on PhuketOn. Find out more about Koh Samui hotels and Koh Samui resorts, plus info on Phuket and Bangkok, at PhuketOn.