There are a couple of Thai Buddhist temples in Langkawi which are worth visiting: Wat Koh Wanararm and Wat Tham Kisap.
They are located a short distance outside Kuah town.
Wat Wanararm is sometimes spelt (on Google Maps and elsewhere) as Wat Koh Wanaram, and also known as Wat LP Koon, or Luang Por Khun or Luang Phor Khoon temple, named after its founder, a Thai monk.
This temple complex is still undergoing expansion and construction. So far, the compound comprises the following:
- A main hall with a large Buddha statue and wall paintings depicting events in Buddha’s life.
- Eight stupas with names such as Stupa of Enlightenment, Stupa of Many Doors, Stupa of Reconciliation and so on.
- A landscaped garden with outdoor pagodas, statues, prayer wheels, fish ponds and more.
- Overlooking the whole temple area is a large white marble Guan Yin (the Goddess of Mercy) statue which appears as if it has been carved out of the hill side.
Behind Guan Yin is a path leading up the hill where there are supposed to be caves used by monks for meditating.
One of these caves was rumoured to be home to a giant snake.
Please do not go up yourself to verify, lest you wish to suffer a slithery end.
The area in which the temple is located is called Bukit Putih.
If you are driving from Kuah, take Jalan Air Hangat (route 112).
Just outside Kuah you will see the turn off to the temple on the right immediately opposite the MARA college building (Maktab Rendah Sains Mara). The turn off is signposted.
There is plenty of free parking and entrance to the temple is free. Donations are always welcome.
Wat Tham Kisap
Another Thai Buddhist temple located just a short distance away is Wat Tham Kisap.
You could describe it as a cave temple since it is located at the foot of a limestone hill where there is a small recessed cave under the overhanging cliff.
There are a number of temple structures here, some still under construction, and plenty of statues and figures, including some life-sized elephant statues.
Unfortunately, you may be unable to view inside this temple because a couple of hostile dogs belonging to the builders may not want you around.
Next door to this temple is a modest Indian temple making use of the hill’s overhanging cave feature.
There is a quarry close by called Kedah Marble which is slowly eating away the limestone hill. Better visit these temples soon before the whole mountain disappears!
This article first appeared in Malaysia Traveller