If you want to visit any temple while travelling around Phuket, Phuket Big Buddha is the most renowned and attractive one to visit.
Big Buddha (or Ming Mongkol Buddha) is Phuket’s newest white marble covered religious statue on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata. It is an important and revered landmark, visible from almost everywhere in Phuket. It is also one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.
How it is built
Phuket Big Buddha is 25.45 metres wide at its base and 45 metres high. It is built of reinforced concrete, and adorned with white jade marble shining in the sun, making it a natural symbol of hope. The weight of the white jade marble is about 135 tons. The entire spot sits on 49 rai (around 7.8 hectares) and is surrounded by a tropical rain forest. Views inside the structure are very colourful and tidy. This temple is highly impressive and spiritual to locals and international Buddhists.
How to go
Phuket Big Buddha is easily reachable by a 6 kilometre road leading from Chao Fa West Road, just 2 km from Chalong Circle. In case of coming from Kata Beach, you will turn left, then find the Phuket Big Buddha sign. There are large signs pointing the road to the top of the mountain. It’s about 17 km away from Phuket city. Since the road condition is very good, there is no problem to head to this temple by a car, or a tuktuk. But the hill up to the Phuket Big Buddha is a steep road, so drive carefully. Below this temple, you will notice a bigger car parking and some nice & hygienic toilets. You will find lots of shaded areas in the statue ground to relax.
There is no strict dress code for entering the Phuket Big Buddha Premises, but it is a sacred site, so visitors are asked to dress politely. You should wear clothing that covers shoulders and knees. Avoid beachwear, short skirts and T-shirts with offensive images. But in case you have come directly from the beach or did not know about the dress code, you can always ask for a free sarong from a booth on the Phuket Big Buddha premises. You will also have to take off your shoes before entering the temple.
Whilst entry to the Phuket Big Buddha in Phuket is totally free, donations are encouraged. If you donate 100 baht for a marble tile, you are handed a black marker to sign your name and write a message on the tile. Nobody is pressured to donate; donations totally depend on your intention.
Inside the meditation hall is a platform where a line of monks are sometimes seen sitting and saying prayers. They can accept offerings for merit making while blessing. From here, a covered concrete path and a staircase lead up to this temple. It is only about a five-minute climb.
Big Buddha is an exquisite viewpoint
The views from the top of the hill where the Phuket Big Buddha is located are mesmerising. This spot will provide you with the opportunity to enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of Phuket Town, the islands around Phuket and the Andaman Sea. You will also get a unique chance to see breath-taking views of Karon and Kata Beaches.
Nearby Hotels & Restaurants
Along the road leading to the famous Phuket Big Buddha, there are at least five restaurants (including Nakkerd Seaview Restaurant located close to the Big Buddha), an ATV riding centre and an elephant riding operation. In these restaurants you will find cheap tasty Thai dishes, soft drinks and ice-cold beers at a reasonable prices. Vendors are also seen selling snakes and drinks. You will also find many hotels, resorts and villas in Kata and Karon near it for staying overnight.
Next to the Phuket Big Buddha, there is a smaller Buddha statue that looks golden, but is made of 22 tons of brass worth about 8 million Thai Baht. It is 12 metres in height and very attractive. This statue was dedicated to HM Queen Sirikit.
Via downhill ATV driving and riding an elephant, you can also discover tropical jungles while visiting this temple. For shopping you will find some stalls at the top selling gift and souvenir items.
When to visit
Considering the heat of the day and the tourist crowds, it is best to visit this temple in the morning. But a late afternoon visit offers a great chance to watch the sunset over Karon bay in the west and Chalong Bay in the east. Consuming Thai dishes at Nakkerd Seaview Restaurant in the evening will be a fantastic experience.
Time needed to visit
It will take approximately 1 hour to discover the whole of the Phuket Big Buddha area. But you can spend more than 1 hour enjoying an overall look over southern Phuket. You can also attend impromptu meditation training sessions to relax as well.
Hundreds of tourist flock to this famous temple every day to enjoy the magnificent views of Chalong Bay, Phuket Town and Kata Beach.
The Phuket Big Buddha not only offers a great opportunity to take in the views but raises your spiritual feelings when you visit this iconic and scenic destination.