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Wat Phra Yai

Wat Phra Yai is a much visited temple where the famous golden Buddha statue graces the headland separating Ban Plai Laem from Big Buddha beach. The twelve metre smiling deity, which gives ‘Big Buddha beach it’s name, dominates the temple grounds, offering some excellent photo opportunities, particularly at sunset. The upper platform is lined with huge prayer bells and at the entrance to the temple you can see the island’s only fully automated donation machine. There are some excellent souvenir and craft shops scattered around the car parking area, including a skilled silversmith and a Batik painter, as well as a cafes and even a tattoo artist. During big festivals like Songkran (Thai New Year in April) and Loi Kratong (The Festival of Light in November) the temple at Big Buddha comes alive with food stalls, beauty competitions, but concerts but on a normal day there’s an air of tranquillity that feels far more appropriate to such a picture perfect setting.