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There's so much to see on Ko Sichang that we're still discovering new attractions after twenty years of visits and five years of living here.

There's hardly a corner of the island where you won't find something worth looking at. Below we list the most popular targets, plus a couple that are often overlooked, but shouldn't be. Samlors will take you to most of these on the standard tour of the island. Make sure to allow plenty of time--just tell the driver how long you want to wait, and it's her/his call whether to wait, or go off and come back...

Rama V Palace
Chinese Temple
Wat Tham Yai Prik meditation center
Yellow Buddha
Old Town
Buddha's Footprint
Dracula's Castle

Walk up to Buddha's Footprint

Dominating the town to the north of the harbor, very conspicuous as you approach on the ferry, is the Chinese temple known as Saan Chao Pho Khao Yai, or Shrine of the Father Spirit of the Great Hill. This predates the palace by centuries, going back to the days when junks from Ming China anchored in the sheltered water on the east side of the island.

Founded around a cave from which seafarers saw a magic light shining into the night, around Chinese New Year the shrine draws tens of thousands of mainly Chinese supplicants from as far away as Djakarta and Beijing. Apart from the Father Spirit himself--whom everyone on the island reveres (probably excepting the stricter Muslim residents, but including us)--there are shrines to the famous Monkey who accompanied Hsuan Tsang in his famous 7th-century pilgrimage from China to India, Kuan Yin, King Chulalongkorn, and others.

It is very much worthwhile to climb the stairs to the monks' cells above the main temple, and if you're not weak, to the Buddha's Footprint. Remember to light the required number of incense sticks in the main shrine, and if you want to be sure of good luck, light a few hundred firecrackers, too. What you first took for machine-gun fire is other visitors' giving this explosive notice to the spirits that they have come.