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Inside Phuket's Temples

Wat Chalong, Wat Phra Thong and Wat Suwan Khiri Khet

Besides lively party scenes and pristine beaches, you’ll find 29 Buddhist temples in Phuket, attracting worshippers and tourists alike.

Wat Chalong in Phuket

The focus in Phuket has often been on its unspoilt beaches, coupled with spectacular coastline scenery, but there’s more to Thailand’s largest island than meets the eye. For one, the island is home to many striking Buddhist temples, locally known as wat. Discover the spiritual side of Phuket with our list of top Phuket temples.

Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong is definitely one temple that you would have come across while planning a trip to Thailand. The temple is famous across Southeast Asia and is the largest and most visited temple in Phuket, welcoming hundreds of tourists through its doors everyday.
The expansive Wat Chalong complex houses multiple temples and is best enjoyed in the morning (before 10am) or late afternoon, when the majority of tour groups have already packed up their things and left for the day. Be sure to make time to enjoy the intricate murals that illustrate the life of Buddha. The centrepiece of Wat Chalong is undoubtedly the three-tiered, pink and golden 60-metre chedi (Buddhist stupa), which houses a splinter of Buddha’s bone. Climb to the top of the chedi and you will be able to admire unobstructed views from the viewing platform; on a clear day, you can make out the Big Buddha of Phuket in the distance, another must-see landmark on the island. 
Despite its popularity with Western tourists, Wat Chalong is still very much a sacred place of worship. Be sure to speak in a hushed tone within the temple, and do not touch statues or other Buddhist relics — save any manhandling for the gift shop located at the back of the temple!

Wat Phra Thong

Located in Thalong, Wat Phra Thong is far more compact than the sprawling Wat Chalong complex. A comparatively remote location also means the temple attracts far less footfall than others on the island, keeping the atmosphere tranquil even by Buddhist temple standards. 
Believed to be one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Phuket, Wat Phra Thong is home to a half-buried golden Buddha statue. Legend has it that villagers who had tried to dig up the Buddha image would fall ill or encounter accidents after, and they finally decided to build a temple over the Buddha statue when a monk who was passing by on a pilgrimage suggested it. 
You can pay homage by rubbing gold leaf onto a replica of the statue (as with all Buddhist statues, the original is strictly off limits) and learn more about the legend behind the half-buried relic in the museum on the temple grounds.

Wat Suwan Khiri Khet

Otherwise known as Wat Karon, Wat Suwan Khiri Khet is within easy walking distance of the Karon beach. To find the temple, head for the northern edge of the sands, and keep an eye out for the eye-catching emerald-green and golden naga (mythical serpent beings) that encircle the temple, keeping watch over the sacred grounds.
Inside, two yak (supernatural beings also known as yaksha or yakshini) guard the entrance to the building, and the interior of the temple is host to a Kali statue, a cow statue and a distinctive black Buddha image.
Visit on a Tuesday or Friday afternoon to evening for a chance to browse the Karon Temple Market, or enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Wat Karon’s beachside location on almost any other day of the week. 
With so many temples dotted around the island, you will have plenty of opportunities to relax and recharge — and not just by lounging under the palm trees!

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