The Magical Secret Buddha Garden
The Secret Buddha Garden (also called Tanim Magic Garden) is an ornamental garden tucked away in the verdant hills of central Koh Samui. Marvel at the fascinating array of Buddha statues, animal sculptures, tall trees and tropical plants that decorate this serene hilltop garden.
The garden was the dream of a local fruit farmer named Nim Thongsuk and was constructed in 1976. During his working years, the Garden’s founder Khun Nim was known as an innovative durian farmer, who helped Samui become famous for this prized pungent fruit. After retiring from farming, Thongsuk decided to open his property to the public. He gathered a team of architects to craft a series of statues and sculptures portraying tales from Buddhist folklore.
The site features many statues of Buddha and other aspects of Thai Buddhism, and also of birds and snakes and other animals, and a pair of statues of the founder’s parents and a statue depicting him and father holding hands also Khun Nim himself, in a relaxed position sitting on a rock. Khun Nim continued to work developing his garden until his death at the age of 91. Khun Nim’s tomb is also found on the site, up to a short path from the angel statues.
It’s the kind of place where each visit brings some new discoveries. With statues of all shapes and sizes scattered around the grounds, a wrong turn or a closer look behind a tree may yield yet another hidden surprise.
Winding pathways lead through lush greenery to a clearing holding a huge number of stone-carved musicians playing their instruments and overlooked by an image of a seated deity. Traditional Thai dancing figures front the musicians, and massive carvings of birds with snakes in their mouths guard the revelers. Steps lead to the music of tinkling waterfalls and rushing little streams, enhancing the magical experience, and the empty dwellings were built to give night-time comfort to wandering forest monks.
The garden surroundings are cool and peaceful, with a waterfall and stream flowing through, all shaded by thick jungle foliage. The Secret Buddha Gardens are found in Samui’s interior, to the north-west of Lamai Beach. With the steep and bumpy road, getting up here is a challenge best done in a 4WD vehicle. Many visitors choose to come here on a day trip that includes a tour of the gardens. The views from within gardens and on the road leading up to it are spectacular, with many stops to enjoy the island panorama along the way.
The Secret Buddha Garden is open daily and charges an admission fee. This is not a temple, so there is no strict dress code.