Thailand is often called “The land of Smiles”. The biggest smile you’ll come across on Koh Samui isn’t that of a person but the statue of a deity the Maitreya Buddha. It’s hard to look at him and frown. He sits on his own lotus flower shaped island that just out into shallow temple lake. He’s a huge white figure at the end of a very ornate bridge that leads you right to his feet. The Maithreya Buddha is worshipped for wealth and happiness, the wealth depicted by the large bag he holds in his right hand while the happiness part is pretty much self-explanatory when you look at his huge grinning face.
Not far away from the Laughing Buddha there is another wonderful statue – of the many armed goddess Kuan Hin, the goddess of Compassion and Healing.
If you count her arms the number will be 18. Her name in Chinese translates as “The one who hears the cries of the world”. She has many arms so she can help multitudes of people. She is cloaked in a long white robe symbolizing purity and the vase that she holds represents the pouring of compassion into the world.
Another remarkable Buddha on the island is the so-called Big Buddha. Its statue can be seen from the plane, while you flying above Koh Samui. 12-meter high gold painted figure stands on a pedestal, to which numerous steps decorated with sculptures of mythological dragons lead.
All three temples are active. There's always a lot of believers, praying or lighting oil lamps and candles, or looking up on the statue with some kind of plea on the face. Many come with lotus flowers and orchids.