Phuket, Thailand is most commonly known as a world-class beach destination. However, many people often forget that the island also hosts some of the most impressive Thai temples in Thailand and perhaps, South East Asia. In this article, we intend to introduce you to some of Phuket island's most popular and culturally important sites, so that you could consider adding them to your own holiday plans.
We have chosen 4 out of the 29 Thai temples around Phuket that were deserving of a "Must Visit" status for all tourists. As many locals would agree, these temples have rightfully acquired their top status through a combination of historical and folk-lore significance.
Things to know before visiting a Thai temple
Things to know before visiting a Thai Temple
- Before stepping inside a temple, it is expected that you remove your shoes and hat first.
- Making a small donation is not necessary, but it is a good gesture that helps keep the temple running.
- It is respectful to arrive in long pants / skirts and a non-sleeveless shirt.
- "Wats" in Thailand are beautiful and richly decorated Temples that are a potent symbol of Thai culture throughout the kingdom. As you scroll down our list, you’ll find Wat preceding the Temple names. Wat Chalong means Chalong Temple. This could come in handy for when you ask for directions.
1. Chalong Temple - the most visited and largest temple in Phuket
Wat Chalong or Chalong Temple (Full Name: Chaiyathararam Temple) is the most visited, revered, and largest temple in Phuket. Highly considered as a must cultural visit in Phuket due to its history and scale.
Built in 1837, Wat Chalong Phuket is the most popular Thai Temple on the island and is one of the cultural highlights on many Phuket sightseeing tours. The tallest building, Chedi, is 60 metres tall and is said to hold a bone fragment of Buddha himself. The interior of the building contains pictorial illustrations of Buddha’s journey. The building alone is three floors high filled with golden statues.
Its historical significance was that the monk founders of the temple, Luang Pho Cham & Luang Pho Chuang led Phuket's Chalong District citizens to fight against the Chinese Rebellion in 1876 using their knowledge of herbal medicine to heal the injured.
As a place of worship, tourists will experience many locals offering prayers and lighting candles, which is generally a very peaceful experience, but one that is often interrupted by the loud bang of Chinese Fire Crackers to ward off bad spirits.
Wat Chalong is 15 minutes drive from Old Phuket Town, Karon Beach, and 25 minutes drive from Patong Beach.
General Opening Hours : 07:00 – 17.00 hrs. Admission and parking is Free.
Kindly note that on the weekend or any Thai public holiday, the temple can get crowded.
Address of Wat Chalong Phuket : 70 Moo 6 Chao Fah Tawan Tok Rd, Chalong, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Google Maps link to the temple : https://goo.gl/maps/nnsn34s7wxn
2. Big Buddha Temple - the highest view point & best sunset spot in Phuket
Phuket Big Buddha, or the Great Buddha of Phuket, is home to the tallest and highest statue of Buddha in southern Thailand. A must see landmark for those visiting Phuket.
Big Buddha is enshrined at the top of Nakkerd hill, Karon, Phuket and is 45 meters tall. Decorated with white marble, Big Buddha weighs 135 tons.
Due to its elevated location (about 400m above sea level), the destination is considered as having one of the best sunset spots in Phuket. From this panoramic view point, tourists will be able to see Chalong bay, Phuket Town, and possibly Phang Nga Bay. We recommend visiting this temple on a clear weather day.
Souvenir shops are available by the entrance of the temple.
Phuket Big Buddha's Thai name is Wat Khao Nakkerd and the official name is Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri.
Local tips & ideas on how to get there:
- For pressed time & convenience - Many taxis, cabs, tuk tuks, and private cars are available. There is a road that takes locals / travellers from the bottom of the mountain to Big Buddha.
- For thrill & excitement - Renting ATVs to ride up the mountain to Big Buddha has grown in popularity in recent years. For your safety, please do proper research on trails and this activity only on a sunny day.
- For exercise - Hiking or Biking is your answer. You can choose between travelling up the sidewalk of roads (the safer route) or travelling up on Jungle trails, which will take you through many banana and rubber plantations. Many routes are available depending on where you want to begin such as starting points like Kata or Karon Beaches. Please note that all routes are considered very challenging and can take up to 3 hours to complete (roughly 8 km trails). We do not recommend hiking unless you can find a guide.
Big Buddha is within 20 minutes drive from Karon Beach
General Opening Hours : 08:00 – 19.00 hrs
Google Maps link to the temple : https://goo.gl/maps/VVqTtoXRKXk
3. Jui Tui Shrine Temple - the destination for Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Founded in 1911, Jui Tui Shrine is one of the oldest religious temples in Phuket, where the famous Phuket Vegetarian Festival is held annually.
The Jui Tui Shrine is important to religious students as many seek to pray here for protection before pursuing their higher education outside of Phuket. The building contains the statue of deity, Tean Hu Huan Soy, and other Buddhist dieties.
In addition to prayer, Phuketians also visit the shrine for fortune-telling. Tourists can participate with the fortune-telling experience by shaking the provided bamboo cup until a fortune stick falls out. Each fortune sticks contains a number that can be matched with a fortune paper. Fortunes at this temple have been translated in many languages.
For those seeking to visit the shrine during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, we advise readers to check the lunar calendar. The festival operates according to each lunar and thus dates change annually. If you are fortunate to visit, you will experience the lively colorful celebrations and processions. Our local tip is for tourists to stop by all the local restaurants around the temple, as tourists will find creative & delicious vegetarian interpretations of many Asian dishes.
General Opening Hours : 08:00 – 18:00 hrs
Address of Jui Tui Shrine Phuket: 283 Soi Phutorn, Tambon Talat Nuea, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Google Maps link to the temple : https://goo.gl/maps/3F86PLiQccpnYWq66
4. Wat Phra Thong - the half buried Golden Buddha statue in Phuket
Wat Phra Thong or Wat Phra Phud is an ancient temple in Phuket, named after the half buried Golden Buddha statue.
The story goes that a farmer boy was the first to find the head of the buried golden statue. Many tried to dig up the remaining parts, but were all cursed. One day, a group of monk pilgramages suggested to build a temple around the statue, and thus Wat Phra Thong came to be.
These days, Wat Phra Thong temple houses tin-mining artifacts and a small museum showcasing Phuket's history.
General Opening Hours: 08.00 – 17.00 hrs
Address of Wat Phra Thong Phuket : 172/2 Nanai Rd, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand
Google Maps link to the temple : https://goo.gl/maps/3W4UCnrTVh42
AboutThavorn Palm Beach Resort
Karon Beach, Phuket Thailand
Thavorn Palm Beach Resort is an award-winning Phuket beachfront resort. This unique destination provides tasteful upscale accommodation, direct beachfront access to Karon Beach, Giant Water Slides, 7 unique dining restaurants & cafes, onsite beachfront mini petting zoo, and a 12-acre botanical rainforest garden.