Big Buddha Beach, which is actually called Bangrak Beach, has been so aptly named because of the imposing Buddha statue that stands 12 meters tall on Wat Phra Yai. The statue is visible from a distance and can be seen even as one flies in to Samui aboard an airplane. The large statue took two years to construct, and now it serves as one of the main attractions not just in Bangrak Beach but in all of Ko Samui. The statue is perched on top of a wide staircase. Going to the top of those stairs will give you a breathtaking view of the island and the sea.
The beach offers less expensive accommodations than in other places in Ko Samui. This is perhaps the reason why it became a popular spot for backpackers and budget travelers. However, the area has seen fast and great development over the years, and now it is home to some high-end resorts and hotels. This development has attracted tourists other than the budget travelers, making the visitors to the area a lot more diverse than before.
Big Buddha Beach is not as beautiful as the beaches in Chaweng or Lamai, but the water is good for swimming any time of the year. The more adventurous tourists can head out on the water for a bit of scuba diving or snorkeling. Water skiing is another activity that people can enjoy in the area.
One advantage of staying in Big Buddha Beach is that the place is relatively quiet, even at night. You may find a few spots for nightlife activity, but they are not as alive as others in the neighboring beaches. If you wish to experience a more vibrant nightlife, you can drive to nearby Chaweng, which is just 15 minutes away. The accommodations in Big Buddha are ideal for those who want to enjoy the occasional nightlife in Chaweng but prefer to stay in a more peaceful environment, away from the noise.
If you want to treat yourself to a much-needed stress relieving massage, you can go to Ban Sabai, a famous five-star spa in Bangrak Beach, where you can choose from a range of treatments. Ban Sabai offers traditional Thai massage, body scrub, foot reflexology, aroma oil massage, and others. The massage can be done in an open pavilion near the beach or in beautifully designed, air-conditioned wooden houses, whichever you prefer. The treatment may be a bit pricey but it’s definitely worth it. If you are low on budget, you may skip Ban Sabai and opt for the typical massage salas by the beach.
Ferries going to the island of Koh Pha Ngan are available in Big Buddha Beach. In fact, Big Buddha is the most convenient point in Ko Samui to go across to Koh Pha Ngan, the island that is famous for its full moon parties. The accommodations in Big Buddha can get a bit crowded as full moon approaches each month. This is because many Ko Samui tourists want to cross over to the other island in order to have a taste of the full moon party, which they say is the ultimate beach nightlife.