Samui Wining & Dining
Samui offers many different places of worship – and everyone’s welcome.

Samui offers many different places of worship – and everyone’s welcome.Staying on Samui doesn’t mean having to dial down the faith that you follow, and lose contact with it. Samui is an opportunity for continuing your practices, perhaps experiencing new variations, but above all making new connections and friends. It may also be an excellent chance to enquire about a religion that you’re interested in. Samui folk, and those that have come here to live, tend to be friendly. And because the island is such a big holiday destination, they’re used to meeting new people. Here’s a brief guide to the different faiths to be found on Samui.



Once you’ve arrived on Samui, you are bound to notice how Buddhism is reflected in so much of the culture here. Some twenty temples form the focus of Buddhist life on the island, and are all well-attended. If you would like to join up with Buddhists, a good place to start is Wat Plai Laem in Choeng Mon. Monks are welcoming and friendly everywhere, and even if most don’t speak much English, you will be able to make contact.


Many people coming to Samui are interested in finding out more about Buddhism. The Dipabhāvan Meditation Center, off the ring-road between Lamai and Ban Hua Thanon, is extremely helpful; they run retreats that focus on meditation and dhamma, with a focus on practices of mindfulness and breathing, as taught by the Buddha himself.



Last year, Muslim visitor arrivals in Thailand were estimated to be 3.6 million – that’s approximately 10 percent of all tourists coming here. They feel at ease travelling here since between five and 10 percent of the nation is also Muslim. Halal food is ever more available, everywhere. On Samui, one of the earliest communities was a Muslim one, and it’s still a thriving place today.
Samui offers many different places of worship – and everyone’s welcome. It’s to be found in the south of the island, in Ban Hua Thanon, where there’s also a large mosque, Masjid Nurulihsan. In the north of the island, head up Soi 1 in Maenam, and deep in the heart of the island, you’ll find a smaller mosque.



  There are a large number of expat Christians on Koh Samui. Christianity was brought to Thailand by Catholic missionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries, and were later joined by Protestants, Baptists and Seventh-Day Adventists. You will find quite a lot of Thai people who attend Christian churches. ‘Mary Help of Christian Church’ is located just south of Tesco Lotus in Chaweng, and offers mass in both Thai and English on Sundays at 10:30 am. The brand new building just opened this year, and is a focal point for Englishspeaking Catholics on the island. St. Anna Catholic Church just outside Nathon has daily services, too, but these tend to be in Thai only.


The Samui Mercy Church is a Baptist church located in Chaweng. The church is off the ring-road just south of Tesco Lotus: turn right just 10 metres after the traffic lights and follow the road round until you see the church building. They offer an English service every Sunday from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, with fellowship afterwards. They also have a unique children’s service and bible study groups.


There are other denominations and Christian groups to be found on Samui, notably a Russian Orthodox Church (on the ring-road in Lamai and just before Hinta-Hinyai).



On Samui there are programs, activities, and services for the local Jewish community and for holidaymakers. Everything takes place in Samui’s Chabad House, handily located just off the beach road in Chaweng. In addition to the Shabbat service, there’s Mincha at 6:00 pm and Maariv at 7:00pm, almost every day. In the restaurant at Chabad House you’ll naturally find kosher food.



  In Chaweng, there’s a Hindu temple that was specially constructed in 2003, by the large Nepalese community here. Worshippers tend to come early, after dawn every day and before they start work. The temple is off the ringroad just south of Tesco Lotus: turn right just 10 metres after the traffic lights and follow the road round and you’ll automatically come to it.


Even if Samui is quite a small island, seemingly given over to holiday activities, many different cultures make their home here. They all get along well together and if you are looking for spiritual connections of almost any kind, then you are sure to find them here on the island.


Dimitri Waring


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