The Temple of the Small Mountain: Wat Phu Khao Noi
A haven of tranquility in a tropical paradise, the temple of Wat Phu Khao Noi will fulfill all your meditation dreams.
The temple of Wat Phu Khao Noi sits serenely on a hill in southern Koh Phangan. A mere 3 kilometres from the busy pier at Thong Sala, it feels a world away from the hustle of the ferries unloading and the traffic-filled streets. If you’re after a haven of tranquility and a truly spiritual experience then this is the place for you. Easily the most scenic of the temples on Koh Phangan.
The temple is a place of worship for local people and a popular meditation center. You can visit for 5 minutes or 5 hours depending on your mood; lessons on Buddhism are taught in English and Thai and the atmosphere is welcoming to non-Thais to come and learn alongside the monks who live here.
A Peaceful Pedigree
Wat Phu Khao Noi was the creation of a monk who wanted a peaceful place for solo meditation away from the larger Wat Ampawan temple nearby, and it shows. Surrounded by greenery on the summit of a hill overlooking Ban Tai, the temple complex is a quiet oasis despite being just minutes away from hedonistic Haad Rin beach.
If you visit in the early morning then you may see the monks at their daily prayers, their orange robes providing a beautiful counterpoint to the gleaming white stupa.
The Temple Complex
The buildings of Wat Phu Khao Noi are a fascinating mix of architecture. The main ubosot or prayer hall is built in a ‘castle’ style, with Chinese bowls set at the base and a series of Thai-style pagodas alongside. The culture of Myanmar is represented with a traditional chedi or temple tower, and the words of Buddha are carved into the base of the central stupa. Make some time to take a stroll around the compound to enjoy the views and appreciate the cultural heritage of this diverse temple.
Meditating on Greatness
The temple provides free training to local children on Buddhism and what it means to be a monk. Want to join them on their learning journey? Foreigners are also welcome to come and learn the basics of Buddhism and meditation. While you can’t stay and immerse yourself in a residential retreat here, conversations with the monks can be an illuminating way to learn about Buddhist theology. The head monk has excellent English and is happy to delve into debate on matters of religion.
There’s also the opportunity to observe traditional ceremonies that are performed at the temple daily. If you arrive for a visit and find that the monks are carrying out Buddhist rituals, remain quiet but stay to watch. It’s a great privilege to experience these long-established practices and the sense of peace and tranquility in the temple can be the highlight of any trip.
How to Find Wat Phu Khao Noi
Wat Phu Khao Noi is located in the southern Ban Tai subdistrict of the island. Head north 3 kilometres from Thongsala Pier on Hin Kong Road and turn right at Wok Tum village when you see the signs for Koh Phangan mini-golf.
The temple complex is open to visitors from 06:00am to 18:00pm.