Wat Phra Thong (or Wat Prathong) is a temple in Phuket that's 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'.
This temple near the Thalang District Office, north of Phuket Town, 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.
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Wat Phra Thong highlights
Wat Phra Thong is not a very big temple, but with its several buildings and colourful features, it’s a pleasant place to visit. The main attraction is the half-buried golden Buddha image which is said to be 'untouchable' in that every person who has tried to dig it out is reported to have been cursed.
Legend has it that a farmer boy who tied his buffalo to an object that looked like a post in an open field fell very ill and died not long afterwards, along with his buffalo. The poor father dreamed about this incident and went to check the post – it turned out to be the top part of a big buried Buddha image.
Many villagers came to help with digging it up but only managed to expose half of the statue; they simply couldn’t dig it up no matter how many times they tried. The idea to build a temple around this half-buried Buddha came when a monk on a pilgrimage spotted the holy image. Wat Phra Thong has become the spiritual centre of local communities ever since.
Good to Know about Wat Phra Thong
The current (and perhaps more rational) explanation as to why there is a half-buried Buddha image at Wat Prathong is that a nearby canal changed direction and flooded the area, leaving it under a layer of silt. This famous place of worship is listed as one of the attractions in the Tourism Authority of Thailand's 'Unseen Thailand' programmes.
The temple also houses an interesting museum, founded by the current abbot. The museum features historical items donated by locals such as tin-mining paraphernalia, a Chinese dowry basket, Chinese teen-tuk (feet reducing) shoes, food carriers, cannons and Javanese daggers.
Wat Phra Thong is around 20 km 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 area.
Wat Phra Thong
- Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 5.30pm
- Location: Thep Krasatti, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)93 621 4687