Temples - Phuket
Phuket’s rich and important history is reflected in its places of worship. From Chinese Taoist Buddhist shrines to traditional Thai Buddhist Wats, there are dozens of striking Temples worth visiting.
1. Phuket Big Buddha
45m tall and clad in exquisite white Burmese marble, this majestic Big Buddha overlooks much of Phuket South. Enjoy this peaceful and spiritual place, with spectacular 360-degree views of the island.
Big Buddha (formally known as Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha) is impressive. Built in 2004, the statue is 24m wide and 45m tall and is Phuket’s most popular temple. To reach Big Buddha you must pass through a small temple that shows the history of the site along with some of Buddha’s teachings.
The views over Phuket are amazing – directly in front of the Big Buddha is Chalong Bay, and if the weather is clear you can see as far as Phang Nga Bay. A small west-facing terrace overlooks Kata and Kata Noi Bay. The local restaurant features sweeping views over Karon Beach.
Don’t forget to dress modestly (cover shoulders and knees) and remove shoes and hats before entering. It is customary to leave a small donation towards the upkeep of the temple.
2. Chalong Temple
The largest and most important Wat in Phuket has been welcoming visitors since the 19th Century. The ornate 60m high Pagoda contains a splinter of Buddha’s bone. Also dedicated to revered monks Luang Pho Chuang and Luang Pho Chaem, Chalong Temple is a popular place for worshippers and tourists.
The most impressive of Wat Chalong’s sprawling complex is the three-storied Phra Mahathat Chedi containing Buddha’s bone. This sacred relic, called Phra Borom Sareerikatatk at the top of the Chedi in a glass case. The Chedi is adorned with Buddha images and the intricate wall paintings tell the story of Buddha’s life.
The central area is where worshippers come to pray, light incense and offer lotus flowers. Locals light firecrackers in thanks for answered prayers and when in need of good luck.
One of the most popular places of worship is located in the intricately decorated hall on the west side of the temple. Alongside depictions of monks are statues of a man called Ta Khee-lek (grandpa Khee-lek), a famous local who won the lottery several times after worshipping here.
Ornamental trees, lotus ponds and flowers fill the temple grounds. Shops and stalls selling souvenirs and refreshments are located in and outside of the grounds.
Wat Chalong Fair lasts ten days and coincides with Chinese New Year. The temple grounds come alive with stalls of food, arts and crafts. There are nightly traditional performances including dancing, singing and awards ceremonies.
3. Jui Tui Shrine
Set high above the street, Jui Tui Shrine is one of the largest and most colourful Taoist Buddhist shrines in Old Phuket Town. Phuket’s Taoist community are generally of Hokkien Chinese origin, related to the early settlers who came here for tin mining.
The shrine is comprised of beautiful buildings arranged around a large courtyard. Shrines feature ornate carvings of dragons and other Chinese mythical creatures. The three main altars feature sculptures depicting virtuous people who have become deities due to their good deeds. Visitors light incense, kneel and pray before entering each altar.
One of the altars features wooden ‘fortune sticks’. The number on the stick you choose corresponds with a message found on the shelves.
To the left of the main entrance is a firecracker house adorned with carvings and dragons.
Adjoined to Jui Tui is Pud Jow Shrine. It was built around 200 years old and dedicated to the God of Mercy. Considered mostly a shrine for women it features a number of smaller rooms with statues of deities.