As the most significant of Phuket’s 29 Buddhist temples, Wat Chalong attracts hundreds of visitors daily. A mountain backdrop emphasizes a golden spire, while wall paintings inside each temple depict vibrant Buddhist images. The main stupa, known as the Grand Pagoda, is said to harbor a splinter of the Buddha’s bone.
Due to its great religious significance, Wat Chalong is an integral part of most Phuket sightseeing tours. Full-day tours often combine a visit to the temple with stops at Old Phuket Town, a cultural melting pot of Malay and Singaporean architecture, and Wang Talang, where you can shop for artisan crafts.
Excursions that combine cycling and jungle trekking with stops at the Chalong Big Buddha and Wat Chalong are a great way to tick off natural and cultural highlights even in limited time.
Things to Know Before You Go
- If you plan to enter the temple, wear clothing that covers your legs, chest, and shoulders.
- Make sure you remove your shoes before entering the temple.
- Photography is allowed inside the temple; however, mobile phones must be in silent mode.
- If you want to cool down, head to the air-conditioned exhibition hall that features life-size wax models of Buddhist figures.
- The temple is free to enter, but donations are encouraged.
How to Get There
Wat Chalong is 5 miles (8 kilometers) outside of Phuket City and is accessible by car or taxi. If you want to skip the hassle of public transport and the expense of taxis, consider visiting Wat Chalong as part of a sightseeing tour that includes round-trip transport.
When to Get There
The large crowds that Wat Chalong attracts are testament to its cultural significance. For the best chance of crowd-free photos, head to Wat Chalong either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. For the best photography opportunities, visit during sunrise or sunset.
Buddhism in Phuket
Each year, during the sixth full moon, Wat Chalong hosts processions in celebration of Wan Phra Yai, which translates as “major holy day.” Buddhist monks carry offerings of candles, incense, and lotus flowers to the Buddha, making this celebration a must-see if you’re in Phuket.