Big Buddha statues in Thailand are very popular landmarks, and there are dozens of huge representations of the Lord Buddha dotted around the country. Every popular resort town has at least 1, which, for the sake of simplicity, is often dubbed as the local ‘Big Buddha’. This is usually one of the town's star attractions, and it’s easy to see why. Gleaming in the sun, generally wearing an expression of blissful peace or contemplation on a vast face, these sculptures are wonderful cultural highlights.

    Our list below shows the biggest Big Buddhas in Thailand, ranked by size. We decided to measure the statues by the size of the figure, not just the height of the statue, which means several ‘reclining Buddha’ statues also make the list.

    1

    Wat Muang

    Ang Thong Province (92 metres tall)

    The towering Phra Buddha Maha Nawamin of Wat Muang is one of the tallest statues in the world. It's also deservedly known as the 'Great Buddha of Thailand'.

    The big statue is around 140 km north of Bangkok, in Ang Thong Province. The gold-painted statue took 18 years to build and was completed in 2008. Being sat in the Bhumisparsha mudra pose, its knees span a staggering 63 metres. The nearby Hell Park is also worth a visit, with its gruesome (and much smaller) statues depicting the fate of sinners.

    Location: 19 Hua Taphan, Wiset Chai Chan, Ang Thong 14110, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 5 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)35 631 556

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    2

    Wat Bhurapha Piram

    Roi Et Province (59.2 metres tall)

    Phra Phuttha Rattana Mongkhon Mahamuni at Wat Bhurapha Piram (also known as Luangpho Yai) is built from gold-covered reinforced concrete. The statue is depicted is in varada mudra pose (right palm facing up with fingers pointing downwards). 

    There is a viewing platform at the back, which gives you a good view across the city but, reaching only about halfway up the huge figure, your view won’t be as good as his.

    Location: 559/1 Padungpanict Rd, Nai Mueang, Roi Et 45000, Thailand

    Phone: +66 (0)43 511 374

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    3

    Wat Pho

    Bangkok (46 metres long)

    Wat Pho’s famous Reclining Buddha – properly known as Phra Buddhasaiyas – would not ordinarily be very high on the list of biggest Buddhas in Thailand. But if you’re measuring the height of the figure rather than of the statue, the gold-leaf-covered brick and plaster representation is indeed huge.

    Built in 1832, the sculpture's giant mother-of-pearl feet are perhaps the most striking feature. At 3 metres high and 4.5 metres long and covered in auspicious symbols, it is one of a very few exceptions to the rule that it is rude to point the soles of your feet at people in Thailand.

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    Location: Maharat Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 226 0335

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    4

    Phuket Big Buddha

    Phuket (45 metres tall)

    Phuket's Big Buddha (Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri) is around 25 metres across at the base. The entire body is constructed from reinforced concrete covered with beautiful Burmese white jade marble. The sculpture is seated on one of the island's tallest hills in bhumisparsha mudra pose (seated with the right hand over the right knee, reaching toward the ground with the palm facing inward). 

    The Phuket Big Buddha has an enviable view across Chalong, towards the east of the island. It's so big that you can see it from across much of the southern part of Phuket.

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    Location: Soi Yot Sane 1, Karon, Muang, Phuket 83100, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)81 891 3827

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    5

    Wat Lokayasutharam

    Ayutthaya (37 metres long)

    Found in the northwest of the island which represents the historical heart of Ayutthaya, the Phra Noon reclining Buddha is a statue without a temple, with Wat Lokayasutharam itself having been all but flattened.

    Constructed from bricks and cement and covered with a very large saffron-coloured robe, it has a rather more rugged appearance than its big brother in Bangkok. There is a miniature scale model in front of it, which is adorned in gold leaf applied by devotees.

    Location: Uthong Rd, Pratuchai, Phra Nakhon, Si Ayutthaya 13000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)35 246 076

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    6

    Wat Intharawihan

    Phra Nakhon, Bangkok (32 metres tall)

    Phra Si Ariyamettrai (also known as Luang Pho To) in Bangkok shows Buddha carrying a begging bowl. Made of brick and stucco and gilded with 24-carat gold, the sculpture is a full 10 metres across the middle. It took around 60 years to construct and was completed in 1927. 

    The pointy Ushnisha (topknot of the hair) contains a Buddhist relic that was gifted by the government of Sri Lanka. It is easy to get to, being just 1 km north of Khao San Road.

    Location: 144 Wisutkasat Road, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 282 3173

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    7

    Wat Thipsukhontharam

    Kanchanaburi (32 metres tall)

    Phra Buddha Metta Pracha Thai Trailokanath Gandhararath Anusorn is Thailand’s tallest bronze standing Buddha statue. It's quite a feat of engineering, given how soft bronze is.

    Surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, the statue stands in the abhaya mudra pose, with his right hand raised, palm facing outwards and the fingers upwards. It's located in a modern and huge 512,000-square-metre temple/educational facility/park in Don Saeb Village, about 60 km northeast of Kanchanaburi.

    Location: Don Saeb Village, Moo 13, Krachao, Kanchanaburi 71170, Thailand

    Phone: +66 (0)34 510 993

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    8

    Wat Srisoonthorn

    Phuket (29 metres long)

    Phuket’s reclining Buddha is a golden statue on the roof of Wat Srisoonthorn's main building. Surrounded by hills and tall trees, it can be hard to spot even though one of the main roads on the island is a very short distance away. It's worth stopping to see as the representation has a remarkable look, with large ears and a very relaxed expression.

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    Location: 20/4 Thepkrasatree Rd, Si Sunthon, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)98 017 8044

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    9

    Phra Buddha Mongkol Maharaj

    Hat Yai (19.9 metres tall)

    Phra Buddha Mongkol Maharaj is one of the tallest standing Buddha statues in Southern Thailand. Despite exhibiting quite a trim physique, it is no lightweight at 200 tonnes. It towers over the city of Hat Yai from its hilltop position, with a pedestal giving it an even higher elevation. 

    The centrepiece of a municipal park, Phra Buddha Mongkol Maharaj enjoys a spectacular view across the city. There’s a cable car leading up the hill if you prefer a leisurely way of getting to the sculpture.

    Location: Hat Yai, Songkhla 90110, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

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    10

    Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan

    Ayutthaya (19 metres tall)

    Said to be Thailand’s oldest big Buddha, Phra Phanan Choeng is among the very few upright big Buddhas in Thailand to be housed indoors. It's said to have been built in 1324 (though no proper records remain of its construction) from bricks covered with stucco and gold. It was originally out in the open, with Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan built around it.

    Wearing a saffron-coloured robe and quite a grim expression, the statue is seated in the bhumisparsha mudra pose (right hand touching the ground). It's located at the confluence of the Chao Phraya and Pa Sak rivers. With age comes legends – locals claim that the statue shed tears when Burmese invaders captured Ayutthaya in 1767.

    Location: 2 Moo 12 Phra Nakhon, Si Ayutthaya 13000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 6 pm

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    11

    Pattaya Big Buddha

    Pattaya (18 metres tall)

    Based on its cheery smile, Pattaya's Big Buddha seemingly enjoys its prime position on Pratumnak Hill – the highest point in the city. It's known as the biggest Buddha on Thailand’s eastern seaboard.

    Built in the 1940s, the sculpture has a great view down the long flight of stairs (around 170 small steps) lined with impressive 7-headed naga (serpent) images, which you will have to climb up to get to the statue. Suffice it to say, it is not one of Pattaya’s most wheelchair-friendly attractions.

    Location: Pattaya, Bang Lamung, Chon Buri 20150, Thailand

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    12

    Wat Prathat Doi Kham

    Chiang Mai (17 metres tall)

    Wat Phra That Doi Kham (Temple of the Golden Mountain) is relatively less-visited, due to its many more famous neighbours. The temple, which lies about 10 km from Chiang Mai's city centre, is believed to have been built in 687 AD.

    The Buddha statue in the bhumisparsha mudra pose (right fingertips touching the ground) has been very well looked after over the years. The white and gold sculpture is easily the biggest Buddha in Chiang Mai, demonstrating the traditional Lanna style the area is known for.

    Location: Mae Hia, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 6 pm

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    13

    Phuttha Monthon Buddha

    Nakhon Pathom (15.9 metres tall)

    Phra Si Sakkaya Thotsaphonlayan Prathan Phutthamonthon Suthat is one of the world’s tallest 'walking Buddhas'. Built in 1981 as the centrepiece of a park, it's also the tallest freestanding Buddha statue in the world. Unlike other standing Buddhas in Thailand, it's not supported by extra structures. The statue is around 30 km west of downtown Bangkok.

    Location: 25/25 Moo 6 Phutthamonthon Sai 4 Rd, Salaya, Phutthamonthon, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 5 am to 6.30 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 441 9012

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    14

    Koh Samui Big Buddha

    Koh Samui (15 metres tall)

    Samui’s Big Buddha is one of the most popular attractions on the island. Seated on a pedestal at the heart of Wat Phra Yai (Temple of the Big Buddha), you can find a Dharma wheel and a replica of the Royal Barge Suphannahong behind the gilded figure. 

    The sculpture was built in 1972, depicting Buddha in bhumisparsha mudra (seated with his right hand downwards to touch the ground). It's such a significant attraction that surrounding coastline is called Big Buddha Beach.

    Location: Route 4171, Bo Put, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, Thailand

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    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

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