When you hear the phrase, ‘mummified monk’, it may give you an eerie feeling. Not to worry however; the mummified monk sitting upright in a glass casket in Wat Kunaram would not scare you at all. So who is this mummified monk you ask? The monk named Luang Pho Daend, passed away while he was seated in a meditative posture. Except for the eyes, the monk’s body is still in good condition. The eyes are said to have fallen back inside the skull. The mummy site was set up to accommodate the monk’s body. A few metres away, you will see a tourist stand. There is ample space to walk around. As you walk, you will get to see the monk’s old home which is now used as a school. This place is also surrounded by many a Samui Beach Resort.

When you get to the southwest side of the island, not so far from Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort, you will see another mummified monk. Known as Luan Pho Ruam, the monk’s mummy has been in a glass box for more than 25 years. You will notice some hints of decomposition, but the monk’s body is still in a good condition. You are supposed to offer a few baht’s as a donation and a monk will place a bracelet on your wrist and bless you. Sadly ladies, you might not be able to receive the same blessing as the lads, as the monks here are not supposed to touch females.

Walking around, you will be able to gain some insight into the reasons why some of these Thais chose monkhood. They spend their days perfecting the art of meditation with no worry at all about everyday life. Most often, a monk will be mummified as a sign of reverence. In Thailand, most monks with elevated mental prowess are believed to have entered arahanthood; the supreme state of Buddhist sainthood. Their relics are also deposited in certain chambers. They have led exemplary lifestyles, and as such, Thais believe that the monks can serve to be an inspiration of spiritual life, even in their mummified versions.

Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world.