Big Buddha beach Samui Thailand
Big Budhha in Samui Island, Thailand
Bangrak Beach is also known as Big Buddha Beach because of the 12 metre high Buddha statue that dominates the area. While the Buddha statue is perhaps the most well-known tourist attraction on the island, the beach resort here is much calmer and quieter than Chaweng and Lamai on Samuiís east coast. Big Buddha beach is located on the north east coast of Samui, about 15 minutes by road to Chaweng Beach, as well as being in a good location for the airport. Itís a lengthy sweeping beach lined with resorts but with a quiet atmosphere. Donít expect a huge selection of bars after hours, but a quick taxi ride will solve that problem.
The remarkable Buddha statue is obviously the main focal point here. The statue took two years to build and is certainly an impressive sight, and can even be seen from the air on arrival to Samui airport. The upper section is decorated with huge prayer bells, and from here the views out to sea are stunning. On important festivals, this is one of the liveliest spots on the island, with big celebrations taking place. The statue is especially popular to visit as the sun is setting, allowing for some great photo opportunities. There are also some good souvenir stalls here, and the usual food and drink stalls. The views of Koh Pha Ngan island to the North are especially good here.
Big Buddha beach is a long beach curving round the north coast, and there is a good range of cheap and medium priced accommodation choices. In recent years, there have been a few more higher end options developed here and the beach has started to attract a more diverse group of tourists than the traditional budget traveller. Staying at Big Buddha beach is particularly popular for those who want the proximity to the nightlife of Chaweng Ė a 15 minute motorbike ride away - but also want the quieter daytimes here to relax with privacy.
There are several possibilities for people who want to do some more energetic activities, with water-skiing, snorkelling, scuba-diving, all available on Big Buddha beach. There are a number of dive shops along the main road here that can organise trips for you. If you just want to relax, then the swimming here is fairly and the water generally calm and quiet, although the beach isnít as nice as Chaweng and lacks the crystal clear water.
As is the case all over Samui, itís not hard to find a relaxing and good value massage on the beach here, but for something a bit more indulgent there is Ban Sabai, a five-star spa offering a range of treatments in traditional wooden style houses at the edge of the beach.
Big Buddha Beach does have some good nightlife options of its own, with some good bars, and generally at a fraction of the price of the busier areas on Samui. There are a number of British style pubs, like the Elephant & Castle and Brahms & Liszt. The Secret Garden Festival is one of the most popular evenings; from 5pm every Sunday at Secret Garden Bungalows youíll find a good barbecue, cheap drinks, and a variety of live musical performances. Theyíve been drawing crowds of tourists and local expats for 13 years, and are still going strong.
Big Buddha Beach is also the most convenient place on this part of the island to take a boat across to Had Rin (on Ko Pha Ngan), for a full moon party. As a result the beachís accommodation gets full around this time as many find it better to avoid the crowded Haad Rin area and arrive for the party night only.
Big Buddha beach is a perfect vacation spot for people who want some of Thailandís idyllic island relaxation, and options for some good nightlife, but not right on their door step. During the day you can wander along the lengthy beach and virtually enjoy it all to yourself.