Wat Ko Kaew Pitsadan, Koh Samet
Away from the partygoers and fire-jugglers in the north, southern Koh Samet offers enough quiet coves and empty beaches to satisfy islanders seeking solitude. You may even stumble across some spirituality too, if you know where to look.
Perhaps surprisingly for an island so close to Bangkok where temples are so abundant, Koh Samet is home to just one place of Buddhist worship. Wat Ko Kaew Pitsadan is best known for its seven-metre smiling Buddha cast in white concrete but, as previous visitors will tell you, the star attraction here is the resident friendly monk. Each day he dedicates several hours of his time to meeting passing tourists, chatting and giving out amulets and good luck charms. Find Wat Ko Kaew Pitsadan between Haad Sai Kaew road and Samet Village.