Phuket Buddhist Temples
Wats and Temples in Phuket
Most of Phuket's population is Thai-Buddhist and there are close to 40 Buddhist Temples (or 'wat' in Thai) located all over the island. Some wats are quite new but some have a long history going back more than 100 years or even longer.
Such places include Wat Pra-nang Sang and Wat Srisoonthorn in Thalang, Wat Karon and the most famous wat in Phuket, Wat Chalong.
Besides admiring their beautiful architectural features, visitors will also learn from just a short visit about the strong connection between wats and the island's everyday life; an experience not to be missed.Read More
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All Buddhist Temples in Phuket
Phuket's Big Buddha is one of the island's most important and revered landmarks. The huge image sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and at 45 metres high it is easily seen from far away.
The lofty site offers the best 360-degree views of the island (think sweeping vistas of Phuket Town, Kata, Karon beaches, Chalong Bay and more.) Easily reachable via a six-kilometre road leading from Phuket's main artery, it's a must-visit island destination. Read More...
- Opening Hours: From 08:00 – 19:30. If you want to catch the sunset from one of Thailand's best spots, try to be there before 18:30
- How to get there: The road leading up to the Big Buddha is off Chao Fa Road East near Chalong. There are many red-and-white signs indicating where it is. Turn down Soi Yodsane and simply follow the indications for the next six kilometres up the hill. You can’t miss it.
Wat Chalong has been extending a warm welcome to visitors for over a century. Locals come to pray and Westerners come to learn something about Buddhism. The temple is open from seven in the morning to five in the afternoon. Read More...
- How to get there: Wat Chalong is about 8 km south of Phuket City. Travel along Chao Fah Nok Rd (Chao Fa West Rd) from the Central Festival mall, and you will see the temple on the left side of the road.
Wat Suwan Khiri Khet
Wat Suwan Khiri Khet (Wat Karon), the only temple in Karon Beach, was founded in 1895 and has been recently renovated. Small but attractive, it is easily accessible from Karon by walk and worth a visit, and a photo.
The main building is 'guarded by two large, emerald green nagas (serpents) and the interior of the building's walls, doors and window panels depict the life of Buddha, including his 'Ten Lives' and him struggling with evil prior to his enlightenment.
The smaller building houses two Ramayana images 'guarding' a beautiful black sapphire Buddha image. A similar Buddha image can be seen at Latthiwanaram Temple (Wat Tai) in Chalong.
- Opening Hours: The temple is open for public daily by request, but park is always open.
- Location: On Patak Road in Karon and can be reached from Patong by taking the road south and turning left at Karon Traffic Circle. The Wat is in the crook of the bend up Patak Rd.
Wat Phranang Sang
Meaning 'Temple built by a queen,' Wat Pra-nang Sang was built some 545 years ago, making it the oldest temple in Phuket. There are very old tin Buddha statues, wrought when tin was considered a semiprecious metal. Each of the images contains a smaller Buddha image.
In the yard just outside the Wat, there is a monument to the first abbot. Not so far from there is a mummy of former abbot Luang Poh Bai (or Ziang). There are also statues of Phuket's 'two heroines' Lady Chan and Lady Mook, as well as a large reclining Buddha. The Wat itself has a wonderful interior, featuring murals of the Lord Buddha's life and pictures of important historical events.
In 1973, the then-Governor of Phuket was officiating over a ceremony at the Wat. At this 'uncovering' ceremony, a head of a Buddha image made of tin was discovered inside the stomach of one of the large Buddha images. About two weeks later, they found one more head inside a second Buddha image. These are the world largest tin Buddha heads. It was presumed that in the past, with the imminent invasion by Burmese troops, town members built the tin Buddha images in which to hide the heads to save them from the enemy.
The ground in front of the wat was where locals gathered to fight with the invading Burmese troops. It was also the place where Lady Chan and Lady Mook, after they were assigned the royal titles of Thao Thepkrasatri and Thao Srisunthorn, paid respect to the temple's principle Buddha image
- Location: The temple located in Thalang on Thepkasattri Road, at the Baan Kian intersection: on the way to airport, at the traffic light, the entrance is located right on the side of the road. You will be able to recognize the entrance by the two pairs of large colourful statues holding the gates.
Often referred to as Wat Klang (meaning centre temple) because of its location in the heart of Phuket Town, Wat Buddhamongkol has beautiful architectural features, including a yellow chedi (pagoda), a small bell tower and a Sino-Portuguese colonial mansion used as a dormitory for the temple monks. There are two ways to enter this wat; by Thepkasatri Road or by Dibuk Road opposite the famous Soi Romanee.
- Opening Hours: 07:00 – 17:30
- Location: On Dibuk Road opposite Soi Romanee in Phuket Town
Wat Kajonrangsan, or Wat Kajon for short, is an unusual Buddhist temple in terms of architecture. The main building (or Pra U-bosod) was built in the Roman style (unique in Phuket). It also has a beautiful set of Thai-style pagodas.
At about 07:00 – 08:00 in the morning, visitors will come across quite a busy place. This is because Wat Kajonrangsan School is located in the same compound. It might be fun to be there early to observe the traditional Thai way of life where the temple is at the heart of everything, including education.
- Opening Hours: 07.00 – 17.30
- Location: On Ranong Road, not far from Thai Airways and Phuket’s main market
Wat Kathu sits on a hill by the side of Wichit Songkram Road and is divided into three levels: the top level is home to all religious buildings, the second level is for the monks’ dormitory and the lower one has an orchard (mainly coconuts), kitchen, and visitors’ shelter.
Wat Kathu is known for its antique image of Lung Por Mai Reab, considered a holy object by Kathu residents. Over the years, the local government has also used Wat Kathu as a training centre for different subjects such as culture, health and careers.
- Opening Hours: 07.00 – 17.30
- Location: Next to Kathu Police Station on Wichit Songkram Road
Wat Khao Rang (or Sumnak Song Khao Rang) enjoys a great location in Phuket Town, sitting on the slope of the popular Khao Rang (Rang Hill). This is where visitors can discover a large golden sitting Buddha – the first of its kind on the island. This charming temple is busy at weekends when locals pay a visit.
Many tour companies bringing tourists to the Phuket and Andaman region usually include this temple in their tour itinerary together with Khao Rang Viewpoint and Khao Rang restaurants (see Tung Ka Café & Restaurant). Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from about 08:00 – late afternoon.
- Location: Khao Rang Hill, Phuket Town. Take the road Soi Vachira, leading from the Vachira Hospital, the temple is a few hundred metres up on the right.
Wat Kosit Wihan
Phuket has about 50 Buddhist temples and monasteries. Wat Kosit Wihan is among the most revered and is located just north of Phuket Town not far from Phuket Mission Hospital. At the centre of the temple is the shrine hall (or ubosot) where most religious ceremonies take place. This beautiful building with its triple roofs gets busy on important Buddhist days such as the Buddha’s birthday and the Sart Thai Festival.
There is a sala that in the old days was used for monks and apprentices to study dharma. Nowadays it’s widely used for various events including daily sermons. Other important images are the golden laughing Buddha statue and a statue of Lung Por Lod, the temple’s first abbot.
Built over 140 years ago on an edge of a national park hill, Wat Kosit’s grounds are full of tropical trees and interesting flowers. It has three entrances; one of them is a shared gate with Phuket Technology College, built on a large parcel of land donated by the temple to support the island’s education.
- Opening Hours: 07.00 – 17.30
- Location: Next to Phuket Technology College on Thepkasatri Road
Wat Mai Luang Pu Supha (also known as Wat Sila Suparam) in Chalong is a relatively new temple on the island. This beautiful and inviting property was built with attention to detail but it is famous mainly because of its founder Luang Pu Supha who is probably one of the most respected and long-lived monks in modern Thai history (it is said that he is over 110 years old).
He’s dedicated a large part of his life (almost a century to be exact) to being a Buddhist monk spreading the word of dharma and building almost 40 temples and monasteries around the country (three of them are in Phuket). Read More...
- Opening Hours: All year round
- Location: Chaofa West Road, Chalong Area.
- How to get there: From the Central Festival Phuket shopping mall go towards Chalong, the temple is near Phunaka Golf Course, Phuket Tree Adventure and about 500 metres before the famous Wat Chalong.
Wat Phra Thong (Wat Prathong), near the Thalang District Office, north of Phuket Town is famous for a half-buried golden Buddha statue called Luang Poh Phra Thong (Golden Buddha) in its grounds. Its other moniker is Wat Phra Phud, meaning 'Temple of the protruding Buddha'.
It is believed to be one of the island’s oldest temples. The temple received a visit in 1909 by King Rama VI who at that time was still the crown prince and who gave it its official name. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 08:00 - 17:30 Daily
- Location: Wat Phra Thong is 20km north of Phuket Town and is located near the Thalang District Office. Heading to the airport, the street leading to the temple is on the right-hand side (you have to do a U-turn if driving). Look for a small sign before reaching Thalang and follow the street to the wat’s parking.
Known by locals as Wat Lipon, this temple is in Thalang, north of Phuket Town. The first impression on entering the grounds is of the 29-metre-high Sleeping Buddha on top of the wat’s central building, so large that it is noticeable from the road outside.
Nearby are nine other smaller Buddha images in different positions – all facing the entrance as if welcoming people.
- Opening Hours: 07:00 – 17:30
- Location: About five kilometres north of the Heroine's Monument on Thepkasathri Road. Wat Srisoonthorn is on the left-hand side.
Popular Temples in Phang Nga Province
A beautiful hilltop temple, Wat Bang Riang (Wat Rat Upatam in its formal name) is located on Khao Lan Mountain in Thap Put, Phang Nga Province. It features a seated golden Buddha image, a large statue of Kwam Im, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and fine Thai temple architecture. A drive through this rustic countryside can be very interesting, despite the fact that it is not on the usual tourist beaten path and it’s well worth a visit if you have time to spare. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily usually from early morning to late afternoon
- Location: Khao Lan Mountain in Thap Put Distract, Phang Nga Province. It’s about 11km from the Thap Put District Office.
Wat Tham Ta Pan is without doubt one of the most weirdly original temples in southern Thailand. Located in Phang Nga Town approximately 100km northeast of Phuket City, it offers a journey through Buddhist Heaven and Hell. At first sight the temple looks a bit abandoned and decrepit, and this adds to the scariness of the place. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily 08:30 - 18:00
- Location: Phang Nga Town