2012-03-22 by System Administrator

Big Buddha and Wat Chalong

Ask most people what they did on their holiday to Phuket and they will undoubtedly mention the pristine tropical beaches and the fantastic weather. The climate and the stunning coastline has for long been an attraction to tourists from across the planet as sun seekers come from far and wide to top up their tans. Visitors to Thailand will experience much more than just sea and sand, however, as the nation is world renowned for its warm welcome and its rich culture.

Throughout the country can be found Buddhist temples which are nearly always open to visitors. The temples are richly decorated with gold leaf, intricate designs and highly detailed statues of gods and mythical beings from folklore. The temples are still operational and Buddhist monks can be seen living in the grounds, making their daily worships to Buddha and helping with the upkeep of the temples. There are numerous temples in Thailand and some have hold more importance than others, with the most important being visited by Buddhists from far and wide wishing to pay homage.

In Phuket, the temple that holds the most importance is Wat Chalong and it is by far the most visited of them all. Wat Chalong was built in the 19th century and its grand pagoda is said to house a splinter of bone that once belonged to the Lord Buddha himself. The temple is also home to the Poh Than Jao Wat, which is considered very important among Buddhists and nearby are two statues of Ta Khee-lek, a local man whom is said to have won the lottery many times after paying homage to the Poh Than Jao Wat statue. Visitors are welcome to visit the temple from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day, although they are asked to dress respectfully. Too much bare skin is not allowed in the temple grounds so you will need to wear a long sleeved shirt and trousers if you wish to enter.

From the grounds of Wat Chalong you can see Phuket’s Big Buddha statue, which stands some 45 metres high. Many people visit the Buddha to write messages to people that they have lost or to ask for good fortune in the future. There are also donation boxes around the site so you can contribute funds to help with the upkeep of the Buddha statue. Located high up on the Nakkerd Hills the site is also an excellent vantage point from which to see the surrounding area, or just to enjoy the serenity of being away from the hustle bustle and the traffic below.

Phuket has so much to offer that you may be forgiven for missing out on the serenity and the beauty of the local temples. The temples make for a great day trip and make a great alternative to the non-stop activity that can be found elsewhere on the island. Both Wat Chalong and the Big Buddha statue are easily accessible and the local taxis and tuk-tuks will be glad to take you there and they may also wait for you to bring you back to your hotel.
 

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