There are about 40 Buddhist temples (or ‘Wat’ in the Thai language) around the island of Phuket. Some of them have a long history more than 100 years ago or even longer. Even though you’re not a Buddhist, witnessing the architectural beauty of these Wats and learning some history is an experience you don’t want to miss.
The Big Buddha
The famous Big Buddha of Phuket can be seen on top of Nakkerd Hills in between Kata and Chalong. It is majestic to behold as it stands 45 meters tall, 25 meters wide across the base and is made of white Burmese marble. Its official name is Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha. The Big Buddha is massive when viewed up close and when you reach the top you also get a stunning 360-degree view of surrounding areas like Phuket Town, Karon Beaches, Kata, and Chalong Bay.
The large Sleeping Buddha in Thalang is a must-view temple to visit in Phuket, Thailand. Known as the Wat Lipon by the locals, it is considered to be a hidden temple but the 29-meter high reclining Buddha can be seen from far away. This Buddha is different because its reclining position represents the Lord Buddha in the dreaming stage, and in his dreams, he had reached enlightenment and knew that he is ready to help other people.
Wat Phra Thong
The Wat Phra Thong temple features another Buddha in a curious position and must be seen and viewed with your own two eyes to appreciate its beauty and elegance. Located near the District Office of Thalang just north of Phuket Town, the temple houses a half-buried golden statue of a Buddha that has the name Luang Poh Phra Thong. The golden Buddha could not be fully unearthed no matter how hard the locals tried, and was labeled as “untouchable” since then. A monk on a pilgrimage suggested that the villagers build a temple around the holy image. News of the miraculous statue reached the ears of King Rama VI, and in 1909 visited the temple and blessed it with an official name of Wat Phra Thong.
Wat Khao Rang
The Wat Khao Rang is probably on the first of each tour companies’ itineraries and places to visit and for a good reason- it may not be the biggest Buddha statue as of today, but it is the first and the original sitting Golden Buddha built on the hillsides of Khao Rang. There are many other attractions to see in this temple, such as the statue of Yommaraj, who is the lord of death, traditional Thai carvings on the roofs and doors and images of the highly respected monks who dwelt and lived in the temple a long time ago. This national treasure can be found at Khao Rang Hill, a few hundred meters off the Soi Vachira road.
Wat Putta Mongkon
At the heart of Phuket lies a great temple called the Wat Putta Mongkon. Its name is derived from its location, which means centre temple. The most famous feature of this busy temple is its beautiful and intricately-designed roof which can be seen from afar. It also shows off a striking yellow pagoda called the Chedi, and its peaceful garden with each tree sharing a Buddhist principle written in both Thai and English. Stay awhile and you may get to see unique and cultural Thai ceremonies being held here daily.
The largest temple of all, the Wat Chalong, was built in the 19th century. This Chedi is built on three floors which the Grand Pagoda dominates, sheltering a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone with its walls and ceilings exquisitely decorated with paintings that illustrate the life of Buddha. It also features lifelike statues of monks Luang Poh Cham, Luang Poh Chuang and Luang Poh Gleum in the central temple where people come to pray and worship or learn about Buddhism.
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