Hidden Sanctuary: Magic Buddha Garden in Koh Samui
In the peaceful, tropical forests of Koh Samui, there’s a hidden treat just waiting to be discovered. The Magic Buddha Garden is a weird and wonderful collection of crazy sculptures and carved statues straight out of a fairytale, created by local farmer Nim Thongsuk for everyone to enjoy.
It’s an unexpected pleasure and makes a great day trip when you fancy a change from the island’s beautiful beaches, so what’s the deal?
Note: All photos in this article are credited to Jana at Miles & Smiles!
Origins of the Magic Buddha Garden in Koh Samui
Khun Nim was a local durian farmer who worked on the land all his life. After he retired from the hard physical work of farming, he fancied a different challenge so put his imagination to work inventing the weird and wonderful world of the secret garden.
It was a labor of love and you can feel it when you wander the garden today. Serpents, giants and mystical creatures wind around the trees, and carved depictions of the gods watch you as you relax on one of the many stone benches soaking up the peace and quiet.
What to Expect of Your Princess Mononoke-like Adventure
The best way to enjoy the Magic Garden is to take your time wandering the winding paths that crisscross the site. It’s not huge, but there’s plenty to see and part of the enjoyment is discovering hidden statues and concealed clearings where some of the most interesting sculptures are hidden.
The paths are steep and can be slippery, so either wear some sturdy footwear or be very careful in your flip flops! A central stream means that you can have a splash and cool off if it’s a hot day, and the sound of the running water cascading down the mountainside just adds to the atmosphere.
Check out the beautiful Koh Samui views!
A trip to the Koh Samui Magic Garden isn’t just about the statues, however. The site is elevated high in the hills in the center of the island so the views are spectacular too. Fancy a panoramic vista across the tropical canopy? Yep, you’ve got one. And how about a picture-perfect Thai waterfall to enjoy? The garden has one of those too!
The Tar Nim waterfall is worth a trip in its own right, and boasts thousands of tiny fish of the type that love to nibble your toes. Forget paying for a fish foot massage down on the coast, come up here and get one for free!
The Journey is Half the Love
Now to the good bit- the bumpy drive along the track to get there! Don’t forget that Nim was originally a farmer and the garden is in a rural area. Paved highway it ain’t! Don’t let it put you off though, because with a good 4×4 and some solid driving skills you should be fine in dry season.
You know what’s less fun though? Some of the potential encounters with the local creepy crawlies during your Koh Samui hike to the garden. When we visited, several statues were playing to some huge and slightly off-putting spiders! While they’re not everyone’s favorite however, they’re pretty docile and are not fast-moving so just be careful where you put your hands and you should be fine.
How to Get to the Magic Buddha Garden
If you’ve driven off-road before then hire yourself a vehicle and make a day of it. As long as you’ve got a general understanding of how to handle a 4×4 then you’ll be fine! If this sounds a little too much like hard work however, there are plenty of tours that include the garden on their itinerary. Check out the jungle safaris or the ATV tours to add a bit of adrenaline into your day!
And that’s a wrap! We highly recommend the Magic Garden for a bit of tropical downtime on your Koh Samui holiday. It’s only 80 baht to get in and is a unique way to spend the day. Grab a few buddies, watch out for those monster spiders and enjoy!