It’s hard to believe that the rich Cherng Thalay neighborhood, known for its many five-star resorts and hotels was once nothing but a quiet little community. Back then it was full of Chinese immigrants seeking a new life, many of them in the tin mining industry. At one point they were looking for something to unite them and protect them from bad luck and evil spirits so they thought about bringing Taoist deities (from China) to the village.
Around the year 1901, Mr Ju Pai Tuk, a hairdresser in the village, went back to China to visit his family and also to bring back three wooden images of Taoist deities to set up the shrine that is known today as Cherng Thalay Shrine. It is usually quiet most of the year, only becoming lively during important periods such as Chinese New Year, deity ceremony days and during the Vegetarian Festival.
Highlights and Features
On the rooftop, there are the usual Chinese traditional figures (of dragons and such). But who are those elegant statues? These are the group of the well-known eight immortals (or eight saints) in Chinese mythology that are commonly seen in Chinese paintings, pottery and other art forms in households across China and in Chinese communities worldwide. They probably rank as the all-time favourite deities of all traditional Chinese beliefs.
In front of the main altar, there is a statue of Nacha (aka Nezha), an important deity who is, according to legend, the one and only gateman or doorkeeper of heaven. Most Chinese, both young and old, know him well because of his unique characteristic of growing three heads and six hands when angry; (it comes as no surprise that there are countless of comic books and movies about him.) It is common to see his images at Chinese temples around the world, not only in Phuket. But don’t expect them to look exactly the same. Not sure which one is him? Just look for a male statue (sometime can be a little boy) who is carrying a big golden ring and lance as weapons. That’s the famous Nacha.
Cherng Thalay Shrine
- Opening Hours: Daily
- Location: Sri Soonthorn Road, Thalang District