Arts & Culture

The Soul of Thailand
At Khwan Beach Resort, Koh Samui, you can choose between the pleasures of a peaceful relaxation holiday or the contemplation of wide ranging cultural places…

It is thought that Koh Samui was first inhabited around 1,500 years ago by fishermen from the Malay Peninsula and southern coast of China. The island is referenced on ancient Chinese maps, which date back to 1687, as ‘Pulo Cornam’. The word ‘Samui’ may be an extension of the name of a native tree, Mui, or may possibly originate from the Chinese word ‘saboey’ which means ‘safe haven’.

Little was known about the island until the first boat transportation service to Koh Samui was launched in the mid-1800s. Back then it took a full day of sailing to cover the 35 km voyage from Suratthani on the mainland.

Until tourism came to Koh Samui, the island was an isolated community, with little contact to the mainland. Before the island’s first roads were built in the 1970s, the journey from the east to west coast was a 15 kilometer trek through the island’s central belt of mountainous jungle.
Since this time, Samui has grown and developed exponentially to become the successful SE Asian tropical, tourist destination that it is today.
Koh Samui currently has an estimated population of 63000 people with a strong economy that depends on a successful tourist industry as well as the exporting of coconut and rubber.

Arts…

Wat Phra Yai

Big Buddha
Big Buddha temple sits majestically on a small rocky island off Koh Samui’s north-eastern corner. Known locally as Wat Phra Yai, its golden, 12-metre seated Buddha statue was built in 1972 and remains one of the island’s most popular attractions. Set on Koh Faan, Big Buddha temple is reached by a causeway that connects it to the main island. The Big Buddha can be seen at a distance of several kilometres and is often the first landmark people see when arriving to Samui by air.

Wat Plai Laem

Chinese Thai Beliefs
Wat Plai Laem is a Buddhist temple compound on Samui’s north-east coast of Samui, featuring a striking white 18-arm image of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Close to the Big Buddha temple, Wat Plai Laem offers visitors a view into Chinese-Thai beliefs as well as some elaborate Buddhist-themed art and architecture.

Wat Khunaram

The mummified monk
Koh Samui’s Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram is an unusual sight yet it offers a unique insight into Buddhist and Thai culture. The monk Luong Pordaeng died in 1973 in a seated meditative position, and ever since his body has been on display in an upright glass case at the temple. Remarkably, even more than 30 years on the monk’s body shows little sign of decay. For some visitors, having a dead man in full view might be a shocking sight, but for Thais it is something to reflect upon and revere.

Wat Khao Chedi

Reclining Buddha
The Pagoda Khao Chedi is a Srivijaya-style chedi situated on a hill above the Laem Sor. It, also, goes by the name Laem Sor Pagoda, which can be a bit confusing seeing as there is another Laem Sor Pagoda below it on Bang Kao Beach, but this one’s golden. You get spectacular views from this vantage point including mainland Suratthani, Bang Kao Bay all the way to Laem Set Point and Koh Tao and Koh Mud Sum in addition to Wat Laem Sor.

Wat Sila Ngu

Stone snake  Temple
Wat Sila Ngu (aka Wat Ratcha Thammaram) is a Buddhist temple located along the Ring Road,near Lamai. Sila Ngu translates into ‘stone snake’ in English, and you can see many stone-carved snakes all around the compound. This long-established temple may look standard and slightly run-down at first sight, but it has recently been upgraded with the addition of a magnificent large new building realised in deep red clay. This building adds to the mysterious yet serene atmosphere of the temple as the large room it houses is pretty sombre and its walls are entirely carved with scene of the Buddha’s life. The seaside location of this temple also permit splendid views to Samui east coast.

Wat Laem Sor

Serenity & Peaceful
Wat Laem Sor is in the form of a ship with the temple sitting astern surrounded by a pool of water to make it appear as if it’s in the ocean, which is actually about 200 metres away. This temple is especially impressive when seen from the Pagoda Khao Chedi on the hill above Bang Kao Beach. What you’ll see is a large, bright-blue vessel sailing amongst the coconut trees. As you enter the temple complex look to your left and you will see, growing along the ground like a snake, a large palm tree.
Culture…

Traditional Fishing

A journey through time

Thailand needs no introduction as one of the world most exotic and tropical holiday destinations and in recent years has become increasingly popular with visiting anglers in search of monster freshwater fish. Thailand offers angling for some of the largest freshwater fish in the world, all native to Thailand and attain world record breaking size. Whether you wish to sample the amazing wild freshwater fishing Thailand has to offer, or want to visit a heavily stocked commercial fishery in search of that fish of a lifetime, let our team guide you on your fishing adventures in Koh Samui.

The Birdshows

Natural music
You have surely seen them in the traffic. Men precariously steering scooters with one hand, while carrying a covered birdcage in the other hand. Inside the cage is a prized possession – a Red-whiskered Bulbul, used in the traditional bird-singing competitions of southern Thailand.

On Samui, the competitions are held every Tuesday and Saturday at 11:00 am. It is not advertised, there is nothing touristy about it, and if you don’t know where it is, you will not find it. The location for the competition is down what is known locally as the ‘Ghost Road’ – the road that links Bangrak to Chaweng.

Traditional Dance

Pure grace

The main dramatic art form of Thailand. Thai dance, like many forms of traditional Asian dance, can be divided into two major categories that correspond roughly to the high art (classical dance) and low art (folk dance) distinction. Although the traditional Thai performing arts are not as vibrant as they once were, suffering inroads from Western entertainment and generally changing tastes, Thai dance drama is not extinct. What survives displays the elegance of an art form refined over centuries. Aside from folk and regional dances (southern Thailand’s Indian-influenced manohra dance, for example), the two major forms of Thai classical dance drama are khon and lakon nai. In the beginning, both were exclusively court entertainments and it was not until much later that a popular style of Dance Theater, likay, evolved as a diversion for common folk who had no access to royal performances.

Thai Boxing

The spirit of the warrior

Muay Thai or Thai boxing is the cultural martial art of Thailand. The origin of Muay Thai dates back several hundred years, and was, essentially, developed as a form of close-combat that used the entire body as a weapon. It is established around the world as a fitness form (Muay aerobic), as a ring sport (Muay Thai) and as a form of self-defense (Muay Boran). MUAYTHAI includes many aspects yet sands as a singular sport with a proud tradition and heritage, a long lasting culture, with people practicing the sport for fitness, health, self-confidence, and an over-all way of life!

Buffalo

The quiet power

Buffalo fighting is a popular form of entertainment. Before you get too horrified, this is nothing like the horrendous bull fighting of Spain. In fact, the buffalo seldom get hurt at all. Two males are put into a ring together, and they paw at the ground, bow and show their horns at each other, run and bash heads – their horns point to the back, so no goring takes place, and the winner is the one who stands his ground, the loser running away with his tail between his legs so to speak.

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