Development around the island's most famous landmark reflect the great changes that have happened on this beautiful tropical island in recent years. Once the home of fishermen's huts with their distinctive wooden boats bobbing at anchor in the bay, Big Buddha and neighbouring Bang Rak has become one of the island's key transport hubs, with new ferry piers transporting visitors to the outlying islands such as Koh Phangan [Full Moon Island] and Koh Tau for diving, and a bay and marina filled with all manner of pleasure boats taking visitors on trips around Samui and its neighbouring islands.
The Big Buddha is located on the island's north-east shore just minutes from the island’s picturesque airport. Visitors arriving by plane are greeted by the sight of the great Golden Buddha sitting there majestically as their aircraft swoops into land. The island's main tourist attraction occupies its own island connected by causeway, where a colourful collection of shops selling fashions and souvenirs, restaurants and nearby wats [temples] make it a must-see for visitors.
The area also boasts a crop of chic new beachfront resorts, restaurants and bars all designed to entice visitors to showcase some of the most spectacular sunsets and sea views from this part of the island. For food lovers and shoppers, a sprawling outdoor market attracts locals and visitors alike with its bounty of fresh local produce.
On the hillsides above it all, many luxurious new villas and condominiums give the area a glamorous holiday-resort appeal with most taking advantage of the spectacular views of the Big Buddha and neighbouring Plai Laem Wat temple and beyond, to the bluest of seas and distant islands.
Most visitors to Samui will find themselves at Big Buddha and Bang Rak at some point during their stay, perhaps to embark on a snorkeling or scuba diving trip, island tour or just to enjoy a sunset drink followed by dinner, this is one of the most popular spots on the island and a great combination of the spiritual aspects of Thailand and its fast developing modern side.