If you are one of those travellers who are not only interested in just relaxing and soaking on the beautiful beaches of Phuket on your holidays but also wants to learn more about the people, belief and culture of the place, we suggest you start with religious attractions where it combines local beliefs and stories.
There are many activities you can do in Phuket, but the best place to visit for the stories of the island, where the community is made of Thai-Chinese descendants, is Thai temples and Chinese shrines. Here are some of the must-visit religious attractions in Phuket.
1. Wat Chalong
If you come to Phuket and did not pay a visit to Wat Chalong, it is like you did not arrive in Phuket – or at least what locals believe. Chalong Temple is one the most famous religious sites in Phuket.
Located just a little off Phuket City, Wat Chalong is outstanding and famous because of its history as well as the beauty of the architecture. The temple was once led by the important monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, who both greatly contributed to the community in term of education and protection.
Highly respected by the local, this temple has a highlight of the attractive pagoda, Phramahathatchedi-Jomthaibarameepragat, which contains a sprinter of Lord Buddha’s bone. Inside the pagoda was decorated with paintings telling a story of Buddha’s life.
For those who would like to learn more about the great monk – Luang Pho Chaem – you can visit the exhibition home. The exhibition hall is equipped with air-conditioning and it features lifelike human-sized wax model of the important monks in the past.
In short, Wat Chalong is a great place to see how much locals dedicate to their religion and to see one of the important religious landmarks in Phuket.
2. Jui Tui Shrine
It will be wrong if we did not mention shrine in this list as half of Phuket citizens are descended from Chinese people. Jui Tui Shrine is the most famous shrine in Phuket If you know the famous Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, then you might have heard about Jui Tui Shrine.
Jui Tui Shrine, like other shrines in Phuket, plays an important role in the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. The shrine is located on Ranong Road which is not that far from Phuket’s main market. Jui Tui is a great place for you to visit and explore around the premise to learn about Chinese religion and the belief.
Decorated in Chinese-style architecture, Jui Tui features the main building that has an outstanding Chinese-style exterior and interior with Chinese god statues situated inside.
However, the main deity that is highly respected by the Chinese descendants here is Tean Hu Huan Soy which is a god that supports arts like Chinese Opera.
Other activity like the Chinese fortune sticks is free to try if you would like to know your future.
3. Phuket Big Buddha
Offering the best panoramic view of the island, Phuket Big Buddha is a not-to-miss landmark in Phuket. The Buddha sits on the top of the Nakkerd Hills with the height of 45 metres so you can probably see this giant Buddha image from afar.
Located on 7.8 hectres land, this gigantic Phuket Buddha was funded by entirely donation which costs around 30 million THB to complete this fantastic Buddha Image. In fact, there is more than one big Buddha there, but another one is much smaller with a size of 12-metre high and situated on the same premise.
The two big Buddha images were built to devote to the king and the queen of Thailand. Thai people know Phuket Big Buddha as Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakiri or Ming Mongkol Buddha.
If you are looking for a great spot for the view and to take in the peaceful sight of Buddhism, Big Buddha Phuket is definitely your answer.
4. Wat Srisoonthorn (Wat Lipon)
Located in Thalang district, Wat Srisoonthorn or locals know by the name Wat Lipon is outstanding with the giant sleeping Buddha Image on the top of the temple.
If you have never seen the gigantic sleeping Buddha image at Wat Pho in Bangkok, then you should definitely visit Wat Lipon. This Buddha image is 29 metres high which located on the top of the building.
The temple is located on a hill surrounded by the forest, however; it is still convenient to commute there as the temple sits by the Thepkasattri Road.
The temple itself is peaceful and quiet which is very good for those who are looking for the place for meditation.
5. Wat Khao Rang
Conveniently located in the Phuket Town, Wat Khao Rang is considered to be one of the easiest religious spots to travel to in Phuket. This temple is normally included in the itinerary of a tour group as the temple is located on the way to the famous Khao Rang Viewpoint and Khao Rang Restaurant.
The temple used to host the biggest Buddha image in Phuket but later it lost the rank to the Big Buddha Phuket. However, Wat Khao Rang is still an interesting spot to visit as it is not a busy spot and you can see the life of Buddhist goes by.
Apart from the temple and the golden Buddha, the temple’s arts such as the painting and carving works or even the statues of characters that reflect the belief of Buddhism are fascinating.
6. Wat Phra Thong Phuket
Believed to be one of the island’s oldest temples, Wat Phra Thong is a small temple but an interesting place to visit. The name Phra Thong means golden Buddha which might not be so special but what makes this temple unique is the renowned golden Buddha image that is half-buried in the ground.
Of course that the main attraction here will be the half-buried golden statue, but the reason that half of the Buddha image is still underground is that it is believed that this Buddha image cannot be touched. It was told that those who tried to remove the rest of the body in the past were cursed.
There was a legend of a boy that tied his buffalo to something that looks like a post in a field, later the boy along with his buffalo were sick and died. The boy father came to figure out later due to his dream that the post was actually a top part of Big Buddha image.
Wat Phra Thong is listed as one of the Unseen Thailand attractions by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. You can visit to see the amazing legendary Buddha image or to see the museum of antique objects donated by locals.