Visiting Wat Koh Larn - a Buddhist blessing on a tropical island (Thailand)
People visit Koh Larn Island (located near Pattaya, Thailand) for the beautiful beaches and delicious seafood. It’s one of the easiest islands to reach on a weekend trip from Bangkok, and is popular with both Thais and foreign tourists.
Wat Koh Larn, a small Buddhist temple located in the town on Koh Larn, isn’t necessarily on a tourist’s radar when spending time on the island.
Even though I was on Koh Larn for a weekend getaway of seafood, sun, and sand, I was still curious about exploring the Thai culture that I could find on the island. The small Wat Koh Larn Buddhist temple is located off of the main road near the village on the island (near the ferry pier and just outside of the night market). I decided to pay the small but beautiful Buddhist temple a visit.
Visitors, even foreigners and non-Buddhists are welcome to visit Wat Koh Larn! Just be sure not to come in your swimsuit! You should dress appropriately when visiting a Buddhist temple. That means no sleeveless shirts (for men or women), no shorts for women, and certainly no bathing suits. Sandals and skirts are totally fine.
As I approached the temple, a very gregarious and friendly monk called me over. He introduced himself as Phra Udom, and began chatting with me in English. Not many foreigners visit this temple, he told me. Phra Udom offered me a blessing and an amulet, and talked to me a bit about the history of Koh Larn Island.
The island was little known until the Vietnam War, when American servicemen began coming to Pattaya for R&R. At that time, those who didn’t like the wild nightlife and reputation of Pattaya began coming to Koh Larn for a quieter island getaway.
The friendly monk chatted to me for a bit about Buddhism, recommended some places on the island where I could get the best seafood, and told me that I should try to visit every beach on Koh Larn. It’s not always easy to find an English-speaking monk, and I really enjoyed talking with him.
In the end, he gave me a blessing, a Buddhist amulet, and a blessed prayer flag, and invited me to look around and explore the temple.
If you have the chance, I totally recommend taking an hour or so to visit Wat Koh Larn. It may not be on the list of quintessential things to do in Pattaya or Koh Larn, but it’s a cool temple to see. It’s not so touristy, and feels a lot more local and authentic.