MalaysiaLangkawi Free All Year Mostly Outdoor
Religious

Wat Koh Wanararm (Lucky Temple)

Jacinta Bender
By 25 days ago

Hidden on a quiet backroad behind Kuah Town, you may not expect to find this glistening gold-trimmed Buddhist temple. Wat Koh Wanararm is best known for its commanding statue of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy carved into a section of limestone mountain. The white statue is contrasted against colorful Tibetan pagodas in the main courtyard.

Despite its unquestionable beauty, the temple is largely undiscovered by tourists. Most visitors come to walk around the peaceful courtyard with intricate mosaics, zen gardens, a koi pond, and golden Buddha statues. The most popular statue is that of laughing Buddha, considered to be lucky.

Those more devout visit the main prayer hall, where a large golden statue of sitting Buddha is framed against a Bodhi tree mural. Here you can light candles and recite traditional prayers. 3 Buddhist schools are also located within the complex, studying Thai, Chinese, and Himalayan Buddhist practices.

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Price

Free

Time Spent

30-90minutes

Fitness level: Easy

Hours

7am-6pm7 days

Look Around

Sitting Buddha statue and Goddess of Mercy sculptureSitting Buddha statue and Goddess of Mercy sculpture
Temple buildingsTemple buildings
Peaceful gazebos over fish pond.Peaceful gazebos over fish pond.
Temple grounds
Tibetan pagodasTibetan pagodas
Buddha statuesBuddha statues
CourtyardCourtyard
Outdoor courtyard
Sitting buddha statueSitting buddha statue
Buddha statue & prayer wheelsBuddha statue & prayer wheels
Prayer wheelsPrayer wheels
Buddha statue inside stupaBuddha statue inside stupa
Stone engravings to describe stupasStone engravings to describe stupas
Outdoor statues and prayer wheels

Who Will Like Wat Koh Wanararm

Culture Buff

Visit the 3 Buddhist schools to witness different approaches to Buddhism, Theravada (Thai), Vajrayana (Himalayan), and Mahayana (Chinese). In the quiet courtyard, rub the belly of laughing Buddha for prosperity and good fortune.

Photography Whiz

Take a photo walk through the courtyard, keeping an eye out for repeating pagodas and buddha statues. Then, choose your framing to capture the towering statue of the Goddess of Mercy.

Insider Tips For Wat Koh Wanararm

  • As tourists are quite uncommon, monks may choose to bless you with a prayer and bracelet if they happen to notice you and have some spare time.
  • Donations go towards maintenance and expansion of the temple.
  • According to legend, rubbing the belly of the laughing Buddha statue will bring prosperity and good fortune.
  • A path behind the courtyard leads to natural caves, which the monks use to meditate. According to local legend, one of these caves is home to a giant snake. True or not, it's best to avoid the caves as regular-sized snakes are common in the area.
  • The temple is a common place for locals to dump unwanted puppies. As such there are some stray dogs at the complex. Most are friendly and won't disturb you.
Local feeder caring for straysLocal feeder caring for strays
A friendly strayA friendly stray
Dumped puppiesDumped puppies
Young puppy recently dumped at the templeYoung puppy recently dumped at the temple
Stray dogs at temple

Video

Where Is It

Jalan Ayer Hangat, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia, 07000

Open map...

How To Get There

Car

Free • Free parking on grass verges inside the golden gates.

Driving directions... Map for car...

Motorbike

Free parking on grass verges inside the golden gates.

Rideshare

Drivers pick up and drop off at the main entrance. It may be hard to find a driver for the return journey as few other tourist attractions are nearby and mobile reception may be spotty at best. Ask your driver to wait for you, if possible and give them a generous tip.

Map for rideshare...

Entrance gateEntrance gate
Roadside parking in front of gateRoadside parking in front of gate
Entrance & parking

What To Bring

Do:
  • Cash for donations.
  • Modest clothing as the temple is a site of worship.

Tech & Photography

Wifi

Public wifi access: None

Photography

Photography allowed: Yesflash is ok

Tripod allowed: Yes

Selfie sticks allowed: Yes

Best time to shoot: Late Morning

Tips: Look for the solo meditating golden Buddha in the garden which makes a strong foreground when shooting the mountain carving. If photographing the monks, ask for permission first.

Drones

Drones allowed: Yes (subject to national/regional rules)

Bags

Backpacks allowed: Yes

Secured bag lockers available: No

Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy

Food & Drink

The closest cluster of restaurants are located in the center of Kuah Town, a 10-minute drive southwest from the temple.

Backstory

Wat Koh Wanararm was founded in 2000 and blessed by revered Thai monk Luang Por Khun, who passed away in 2015. The carved statue of the Goddess of Mercy was completed in 2014. The temple is constantly under expansion, with new buildings frequently being constructed.

The grounds include a landscaped garden with outdoor pagodas, prayer wheels, and statues; eight stupas; and a main hall with a large Buddha statue and painting depicting events from Buddha's life.

Expansion in progress

Etiquette

Do:
  • Leave a small donation to go towards the temple's maintenance and expansion.
  • Remove your shoes before entering an enclosed building.
  • Be quiet and don't disturb praying monks or visitors.
  • Bow your head to show respect to monks.
Don't:
  • Hold hands or kiss your partner within the complex.
  • Approach a monk or initiate conversation if you are a female due to cultural sensitivities.
  • Touch a monk's head.

Scorecard

Best Parts:
  • Serene, peaceful atmosphere.
  • Unique statue of the Goddess of Mercy.
  • Lucky laughing Buddha statue.
Could Be Better:
  • Difficult to find without Google Maps.
  • Lack of attractions and restaurants nearby.
My itinerary Save View

Oh, you're so close

The awesome itinerary feature is only for VIP Members.

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Joining only takes a minute and it's... um... free! Plus you get other perks like badges, points, and unicorns.

Let's do this! I'm already cool, let me in Nah, I am boring.

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