Wat Khunaram, home to Koh Samui’s mummified monk, is an unusual sight yet it offers a unique insight into Buddhist and Thai culture. The monk, Luong Pordaeng, died in 1973 in a seated meditative position, and ever since his body has been on display in an upright glass case at the temple. Remarkably, even after several decades, the monk’s body shows little sign of decay. For some visitors, having a dead man in full view might be a shocking sight. But for Thais, it’s something to reflect upon and revere.
Far from being frightened by death, most Buddhist Thais are highly accepting of the end of life as the natural order of things and they view death as an opportunity to be reborn into a better place, one step closer to nirvana. There are other mummy monks on Samui and throughout Thailand, but Loung Pordang is among the most highly revered.