Phuket's Big Buddha is one of the most important and revered landmarks on the island. The huge image sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and, at 45 metres tall, can be seen from as far away as Phuket Town and Karon Beach.
The lofty site offers the best 360-degree views of the island, with sweeping vistas of Phuket Town, Kata, Karon, Chalong Bay and more. Relatively easily reachable via a winding 6-km road leading from Phuket's main artery route, it is a must-visit island destination.
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Close up to the Phuket Big Buddha itself, the atmosphere is very peaceful, the only sounds to hear being the tinkling of small bells and the fluttering of yellow Buddhist flags in the compound, with soft background dharma music.
Known among Thais as the Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha, the main statue was built in 2004 and is 25 meters across at the base. The whole body is constructed with reinforced concrete, layered with beautiful Burmese white jade marble that shines in the sun. The views, and the actual image itself are breathtaking.
Next to the main Phuket Big Buddha is a smaller Buddha statue, which is gold in colour, though actually made of brass. There are also several much smaller statues of Buddha and of revered monks.
Here we meet again. We were here together in 2005 and I hope to be back again some time. Until then, rest in peace.
For Desire, an incredible woman (1931-2008)
From your loving husband, Craig and family.
This touching message is typical of those written on the thousands of bricks and white marble slabs used to make up the image. On a good day, more than 1,000 people visit the site, many donating money for the Phuket Big Buddha’s maintenance and to write messages on the purchased items for good luck and in memory of passed-away loved ones.
Funds for the massive structure come entirely from donations. “This project is huge and requires a lot of money," said Suporn Wanichkul, President of the Mingmongkol Faith 45 Foundation, which was formed to build the image, "So far, we are managing just fine. I’m amazed at the amount of help we have received from everyone who knows about this project. It seems they all want to be a part of it.”
Near the base of the Phuket Big Buddha is a hall displaying the project's history (some of which you can read here), some Buddhist teachings and countless donation boxes. As one of the most popular attractions in Phuket, with road signs pointing the way to it right across the island, it certainly gets plenty of visitors and donations. This does mean that it is one of the busiest attractions, with big crowds being quite common, particularly around sunset.
What to Wear
As the Phuket Big Buddha is a religious site, it is considered disrespectful to arrive in beachwear, short skirts and T-shirts with offensive texts or images. If you feel you have dressed a little too daringly, you can always ask for a sarong to cover up with. It is free of charge from the site centre.
Did You Know?
a) Nakkerd Sea View Restaurant is located near the Big Buddha and is a nice place to chill out after visiting the site. The food there is reasonable in terms of taste and price and the view, of course, is wonderful.
b) The road to Nakkerd Hills is in good condition, most parts are newly built but it has many curves and some steep climbs, which less-powerful scooters can struggle with. Some young tourists enjoy hiking up, even though it usually takes them over an hour to reach the top.
- 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
- Location: Nakkerd Hills, between Kata and Chalong
- Dress Code: Dress conservatively
- 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 6 km up the hill. You can’t miss it.