Is This Koh Chang’s Best Viewpoint?
Baan Rong Thian is the name for the hamlet at the end of the road on the western side of Salakphet bay. In the past it was always best known as being home to Koh Chang Marina and Salakphet Seafood restaurant. But that’s about to change. In a few years it will be on every visitor’s radar.
Because back in the early 2010s the abbot of the small monastery, Wat Pa Rong Tharn, overlooking the bay, came up with a plan to build one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand on a hillside overlooking the bay. This ambitious project, building a 29 metre high statue of Buddha, was to be financed solely by public donations.
It took a few years of fundraising before construction began. But it did so in 2017 when a ceremony was held to mark the laying of the foundation stone.
The speed of the work being dependent on the amount of donations that come in. The construction work is carried out by volunteers. Not only from the village but from elsewhere on the island and around Trat province. Helping build the statue is an act of merit making.
Steady progress is being made. As of early 2021 the structural work on the base, where the statue will be placed, has been completed.
I’d expect it to take another 5 years (at least) before the Buddha statue is in place and the area no longer resembles a construction site. However, when it is finally completed, it will be a huge boon for the local community. Bringing in thousands of tourists daily.
At present there’s just a small scale version statue at the site. Now imagine this but 29 metres tall and you’ll get an idea of the scale of the project.
This will benefit the temple, in the way of donations, and the villagers who will finally see some of the tourist expenditure that their friends on the west coast of the island have been enjoying for many years.
I’ll guarantee that it will be one of the island’s top attractions. Anyone who has been to Samui or Phuket will probably have been to the giant Buddha statues. Koh Chang’s will have, in my opinion, even better views. See for yourself . . .
Location and Access to the Buddha Statue Base
The White Buddha is located mid way between Koh Chang Marina and Salakphet Seafood. The road does a sharp 90 degree left turn and on the right hand side of the bed is a small parking area. Head in here and you’ll see a steep concrete road in front of you.
You will pass a larger parking area and toilet facilities on your left. Around a right hand bend and you’ll the at the base of the statue. Directly in front are some super steep steps up to the first level. You can go up them. Or more easily follow the dirt road around the back of the temple and you’ll come to two, easier to climb, staircases which take you up to the second level viewing platform. The photo below is the current (January 2021) state of construction.
If you want to go higher you take the rickety, makeshift metal steps up to the top level. This has the best views but some care is needed getting up here.
I almost forgot to mention, there’s no entrance fee.