Koh Phangan Temples
Koh Phangan temples make up some of the islands historical and spiritual history. And are the centre of the Thai community. Locals visit them on a daily basis to receive their blessings from Buddha. Many of the Koh Phangan temples have Bhikkhus (Monks) living within the grounds.
There are over 20 temples in Koh Phangan, so if you’re searching for the most interesting ones to visit during your stay here, then look no further. We have given details for the temples on Koh Phangan that are a “must visit” during your stay on the island.
The translation of Temple in Thai is ‘Wat’, which means a Buddhist Sacred Precinct. They include a Vihara (quarters for Bhikkhus), a Temple, an Edifice Housing, a large image of Buddha and a structure for lessons. A site without a minimum of three resident Bhikkhus cannot correctly be described as a Wat. Although the term is frequently used more loosely, even for ruins of ancient Temples. these would be more of a Shrine.
Most commonly you’ll find that the Koh Phangan temples consist of two parts; The Phuttha-Wat and the Sangha-Wat. The Phuttha-Wat is the area which is dedicated to Buddha. It generally contains several buildings including a Chedi, a Prang, the Bot, a Bell Tower, and a Sala Kan Parien. The Sangha-Wat contains the living quarters for the monks and also lies within the walled grounds surrounding the Temple. The Sangha-Wat can also include the Kuti. Traditionally you will find Nagas throughout the grounds of a Temple. In most countries these have been merged with local traditions and resemble either a dragon or serpents. The form of a great cobra-like snake is usually associated with the Buddhist Naga and often has a single head, however sometimes it can have more than one.
One of the most commonly seen Buddhist symbols is the lion stone sculpture, which you will see in different guises at the temples on Koh Phangan. The lion stands for regality, strength and power and are all characteristics traditionally associated with this majestic animal. This is also the source of great inspiration for the Buddhists in their teaching.
As a tourist you are always welcome to enter and look around the many temples on Koh Phangan. As there are so many temples on Koh Phangan you are sure to visit one at least once during your trip. Following a few simple rules of etiquette ensures that nobody is left accidentally offended during your visit.
Here are a few tips you should follow when entering any temple grounds:
- Remove your hat and shoes before entering a building
- Show respect – Speak quietly and appropriately, don’t smoke, don’t chew gum, turn your mobile off.
- Cover yourself – Shoulders should be covered and long trousers worn
- Respect the Buddha statue – Never climb, touch or sit near a Buddha. Get permission before taking photos and never take photos during worship
- Don’t point with your finger at anything or sit with your feet facing a person or Buddha, this is considered extremely rude
- Stand up if you are already sitting when monks enter the room. Allow them to acknowledge you before you sit again