The Chalong Big Buddha is hard to miss. Built on a patch of virgin rain forest on Khao Nakkerd Hill high above Phuket, this gigantic 148-foot (45-meter) statue is one of the island's most prominent landmarks, easily seen from most places in the south. From the statue’s base, visitors enjoy panoramic views of Chalong Bay and Phuket town.
As one of Phuket’s most recognizable attractions, the Chalong Big Buddha features on most sightseeing tours of the island, along with beaches and other notable religious sites. Those who enjoy hiking can book a tour that includes a trek through lush jungle before a visit to the Big Buddha, as well as a trip to Wat Chalong, the largest Buddhist temple in Phuket. A small museum at the base of the statue chronicles the history of the project. Private tours often visit this site.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Chalong Big Buddha is a must-see for photographers and first-time visitors.
- Entry to the Big Buddha is free, but donations are accepted.
- Make sure your knees and shoulders are covered during your visit; avoid beachwear.
- Be prepared to remove your shoes before entering the temple at the Big Buddha.
- There’s a public restroom at the statue about halfway down the stairs.
How to Get There
The Big Buddha is located along a 4-mile (6-kilometer) road just off the main route from Phuket to Chalong. Turn down Soi Yot Sane and follow the signs up the hill. Public transportation to the statue is scarce, so it’s a good idea to hire a taxi or visit as part of a guided tour.
When to Get There
The statue is at its busiest around sunset (a beautiful time to visit to be sure), but if you want to enjoy the sight when it’s a little less crowded, plan to visit at sunrise when the eastern-facing statue is illuminated by the rising sun.
Messages of Faith
Look closely at the Big Buddha statue, and you’ll see thousands of white-marble slabs engraved with messages from those who donated toward the construction of the statue. Some are words of good luck, while others are in memory of loved ones who’ve died.