Exotic beaches, vibrant nightlife, historical old town, yummy street food … and the list goes on. These words naturally come to your mind when thinking of Phuket. However, there are many other reasons why you should visit this Southern city. One of which is that it is home to numerous beautiful religious sites.
Let’s find out more about 4 must-visit temples in Phuket: Wat Chalong, Phuket Big Buddha, Wat Phra Thong, and Jui Tui Shrine.
Built at the beginning of the 19th century, Wat Chalong or Wat Chaiyathararam is the largest and most visited temple in Phuket.
This sacred temple has attracted locals and foreign tourists to pray as well as pay respect to renowned Luang Poh Cham who is known for his compassion and healing power.
In 1876, together with Luang Poh Chung, they assisted the citizens of the Chalong sub-district in fighting against Chinese rebellion and applied their herbal medicine knowledge in curing the injured.
Luang Poh Cham (Cr. topicstock.pantip.com)
Another main highlight here is the 60-meter Grand Pagoda, aka Phra Mahathat Chedi, which contains a splinter of Buddha’s bone at the top.
The first floor houses golden Buddha statues of different postures where you can pray for blessings. Also, have a look at the walls and ceilings covered with exquisite paintings showcasing the story of Buddha.
Opening Hours: Daily, 8 AM – 5 PM
Phuket Big Buddha
Commonly known as Big Buddha Temple, Wat Khao Nakkerd is where you can find a 45-meter white marble Buddha statue weighing more than 135 tons.
The official name of the Big Buddha is Puttamingmongkol Akenakki which translates to Happiness on top of Nakerd Mountain.
Started building in 2002, Phuket Big Buddha symbolizes peace, harmony, and hope as its construction was fully funded by people’s donations.
Apart from the huge majestic statue, the viewpoint on top of the mountain also makes Phuket Big Buddha a must-see attraction for tourists.
From there, you will be able to see 360-degree scenic views of Phuket Town, Chalong Bay, and wonderful islands such as Koh Kata and Koh Karon. If the sky is clear, you may even spot Phang Nga Bay! It is also a perfect place for watching a pretty sunset.
Opening Hours: Daily, 6 AM – 6 PM
Wat Phra Thong
Another sacred temple worth visiting in Phuket is Wat Phra Thong, also known among locals as Wat Phra Phud.
The latter name was given because of its famous half-buried golden Buddha statue called Luang Poh Phra Thong (Golden Buddha). The word “phud” refers to pop up or protrude in English.
Legend About The Half-buried Golden Buddha
In the past, there was a farmer boy who fell ill and died not long after he tied his buffalo to a post-like object in a field.
Subsequently, his father came to see the “post” and found out that it was actually the head of a buried Buddha image.
Many people tried to dig the holy statue up and expose its other half. However, no one has ever succeeded. Instead, they all received a curse.
The idea of building the temple around the half-buried image was later raised by the monk on a pilgrimage, leading to the construction of Wat Phra Thong.
Inside the temple, there is also a museum where you can learn more about the history of Phuket and the locals’ lifestyle. It stores artifacts such as tin-mining paraphernalia and Javanese daggers.
Wat Phra Thong Museum (Cr. db.sac.or.th)
Opening Hours: Daily, 8AM – 5:30 PM
Location: 172/2 Nanai Rd, Thalang District
Jui Tui Shrine
Jui Tui Shrine is one of the oldest and most significant religious sites in Phuket. It is where the renowned Phuket Vegetarian Festival is held annually.
Since the festival period is based on the lunar calendar, it is best to check the exact dates before making a visit to not miss the lively celebration and processions.
The main building of Jui Tui Shrine displays the principal deity, Tean Hu Huan Soy, and other statues of Chinese gods. Tean Hu Huan Soy, the Taoist god, is associated with performing artists and dancers. Phuket students also come here to ask for protection before pursuing their higher education outside the island.
Furthermore, the shrine is popular for fortune-telling. What you need to do is simply shake the bamboo cup until one fortune stick falls off. As each stick represents a number, you can collect the matching fortune paper at the nearby cabinet. The description is available in Thai and Chinese.
Opening Hours: Daily, 8 AM – 6 PM
Indeed, Phuket has many interesting and sacred religious sites for you to explore and pray. Don’t forget to add them to your itinerary while planning your visit to Phuket!