Attraction Wat Khunaram (Phra Wihan Luang Por Daeng) Ko Samui District Surat Thani Thái Lan Published on: 13-11-2015
Image copyrights belong to authors
Why Wat Khunaram (Mummified Monk) is special ?
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.
Far from being frightened by death, most Buddhist Thais are highly accepting of the end of life as the natural order of things and they view death as an opportunity to be reborn into a better place, one step closer to nirvana. There are other mummy monks on Samui and throughout Thailand, but Loung Pordang is among the most highly revered.
Loung Pordang is said to have told his followers shortly before his death that if his body were to decompose he should be cremated, but if not then he wanted to be put on display as a visual reminder of the Buddha’s teachings. For Thais, both the life and death of Loung Pordang serves as an inspiration to follow the Buddhist precepts and walk the middle path.
What to explore at Wat Khunaram (Mummified Monk)?
As the name suggests, the temple came to fame because a mummified monk is on display here. This is probably the most striking part of the temple, to walk by a glass casket that is strewn with flowers and incense and holds the body of Koh Samui's famous monk, Loung Pordaeng.
Coming from different cultures and world views, you may find the sight of a dead body in a glass casket disturbing, but the Thai are said to draw inspiration, and reflect on their lives every time they visit the monk. In their culture, it is believed that death is only the gateway to another rebirth and a better life. Such is their faith and belief, the beauteous temple that houses this casket was specially built for him after the monk passed away.
How to get to Wat Khunaram (Mummified Monk)?
The Wat Khunaram is located West of Hua Thanon and South West of Lamai beach on Route 4169. You can get there by chartering a songthaew public bus from one of the beach resorts.
- “The eternal Monk of Samui”
- “Fascinating piece of Thai culture”
- “Weird but wonderful”
- “Something different”
- “Amazing experience ”
Wat Khunaram (Phra Wihan Luang Por Daeng) Ko Samui District Surat Thani Thái Lan
Tips for you
So while in Koh Samui for part of me and my husband's honeymoon, we decided to take a day trip to visit a few random sites to the south of the island since we had stayed in the northeastern part. It was about an hour drive down the east coast to get to this via tuk tuk. It was very nice to feel the breeze that day since it was about 90°F that day. The day before that we visited Waterfall 2 which was awesome, but we were a little wiped out and saddened because we lost our GoPro in the waterfall so we didn't do much else near there. When we went back to see this monk it was a really interesting experience. We paid about 1000 baht to take us there, to Hin Ta Hin Yai, and to Chaweng Beach after, which all in all was about 3-4 hours of driving and the driver waiting for us at each stop. Btw, if you want a driver in Thailand to wait for you, say "lanoi" and they will wait. A nice English professor told us that in Bangkok. The driver we had went inside with us to pray here, which was nice to see the culture at work. Most drivers that wait with you will do this, but will let you be during that time as well. We went inside and saw this mummified monk sitting in a meditative stance with sunglasses on. Was interesting to see that in person. The story about him is listed before going inside the wat. It says that he predicted his death after living a full life and then dedicating his life to monkhood. Crazy, right? It's a cool bit of history. I was also given a blessing from a monk seated to the right of the mummified monk, which was a great experience. I recommend going here and a few other places because it brings you away from so much tourism, shopping, drunkards, etc., and it's something you don't see every day, plus, it's free, so why not? Also, take a try at making the gong before you go in make a beautiful chime noise....it's not as easy as you think! A local tried doing it and it took him a few tries.