Image by Tim Gerard Barker Getty Images

At Samui’s northern end, on a small rocky island linked by a causeway, is Wat Phra Yai. Erected in 1972, the modern Buddha (sitting in the Mara posture) stands 15m high and makes an alluring silhouette against the tropical sky and sea. Observe the notices instructing visitors to wear correct garb for visits. Nearby, a new temple, Wat Plai Laem, features an enormous 18-armed Buddha.