Phangan Buddhist temples
Phangan Island Attractions | Buddhist temples and meditation retreats on Koh Pha Ngan
When you go to visit the temples, do remember that they are places of worship for the Thais. Act respectfully. Don't take pictures of family members posed next to Buddha. Dress respectfully-this means no shorts or beach wear, or tank tops or other skimpy clothing for women. This includes sleeveless tops. Despite what you see on the beaches, Thais have a more conservative idea of proper attire in temples. Take your hat and your shoes off at the door.
Don't be surprised if you see Thais or Asian tourists setting off firecrackers. They are doing it to bring good luck.
Wat Khao Tam
Wat Khao Tam is not actually a true Temple (Wat) as there are only a couple of monks and a nun in residence. Still, there is chanting and meditation every morning and evening, and visitors are welcome to share the experience.
After touring the facilities, take a hike to the top of the mountain, where you can watch a particularly magnificent sunset. There is something quite relaxing when you watch the sun go down, the chanting of the monks all the while acting as a serene counterpoint. On a clear day you can see all the way to Koh Samui.
Longer stays are possible. The temple is a Buddhist Meditation Center in the Theravadin tradition, where you can participate in 10 day meditation retreats. The retreats taught at the center help one develop Vipassana or Insight into Reality.
The fees for the 10 day retreat change periodically; for the latest information you can either visit the website at http://www.watkowtham.org, visit Wat Khao Tam and read the bulletin board when you get there, or write in advance to Wat Khao Tham, Koh Pha-Ngan, Suratthani, 84280, Thailand.
This is a very popular temple with Thais and foreigners (Farang) alike, because it is also the home of an herbal sauna. Here you can experience the healing benefits of Eastern Sauna, where herbs like lemongrass are steamed over a wood fire, adding to overall health and wellness.
The herbal sauna is an excellent tonic for those who feel the effects of jet lag, or a little too much partying. It is also good for anyone on a 'health' vacation-the sauna can help improve the tone of the skin, among other properties.
The sauna is open 7 days a week from 3-6pm
Chedi Wat Nai
This Wat may not be large, but it makes up for that with beauty. Chedi Wat Nai is a little Pagoda, located a little off the main road to Thong Nai from the Pan Tai pier, on a small paved road. Look for it just before the coconut factory. It's in the middle of the plantation, but don't worry, the owners are very warm and friendly farmers.
Wat Thong Sala
This Wat is the most popular temple in Koh Phangan for the local Buddhists, and is where the important ceremonies take place.
Consult your hotel for a list of upcoming events-changes are there is something going on at the temple during your stay.
On Buddhist holidays and general celebration days, the temple is the site of big festivals. This is a good time to sample Thai food and do a little shopping, as there are plenty of stalls selling just about anything you can think of. Besides food, the stalls will sell you a selection of clothes, tools, Thai handicraft, decorations, animals-just check your country's laws concerning bringing in animals from foreign locations before you buy-otherwise that new pet may be destroyed before you leave Thailand.