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Inside Phuket's Sacred Temples

Wat Chalong, Wat Phra Thong & Wat Suwan Khiri Khet

The focus in Phuket has always been on the its untouched beaches and spectacular coastline scenery, but there’s more to Thailand’s largest island than meets the eye. In addition to a lively party scene and sandy beaches, Phuket’s also home to 29 Buddhist temples – which means it attracts Buddhist worshippers and revellers in equal measure.

Wat Chalong in Phuket

Read below for our guide to seeing a hidden side of Phuket with our list of the island’s most sacred temples:

Wat Chalong

Ok, we’ll admit – Wat Chalong is probably one you’ve heard of before if you’ve ever planned a trip to Thailand. The temple is famous across South East Asia (and indeed the rest of the region) and welcomes hundreds of tourists through its doors everyday.  
The Wat Chalong complex houses multiple temples and is best enjoyed in the morning (before 10am) or late afternoon, when the majority of tour groups have already packed up their things and left for the day. Be sure to make time to enjoy the intricate murals and spectacular views from the top of the 60m Chedi viewing platform; on a clear day, you can make out the Big Buddha of Phuket in the distance. 
Despite its popularity with Western tourists, Wat Chalong is still very much a sacred place of worship. Be sure to speak in a hushed tone within the temple, and do not touch statues or other Buddhist relics – save any manhandling for the gift shop located at the back of the temple!

Wat Phra Thong

Located in Thalong, the Wat Phra Thong temple is far more compact than the sprawling Wat Chalong complex. A comparatively remote location also means the temples attracts far less footfall than other temples on the island - this keeps the atmosphere tranquil even by Buddhist temple standards. 
Chief amongst the attractions is the main temple building constructed around a partially hidden gold Buddha statue. Pay homage by rubbing gold leaf onto a replica of the statue (as with all Buddhist statues, the original is strictly off limits) and learn more about the legend behind the half buried relic in the museum on the temple grounds. 

Wat Suwan Khiri Khet

Otherwise known as Wat Karon, the Wat Suwan Khiri Khet temple is within easy walking distance of of Karon beach. To find the temple, head for the northern edge of the sands, and keep an eye out for the (decorative) giant blue snakes that encircle the temple
Inside, the mythical creature theme continues. Two Yak (supernatural beings) guard the entrance to the building, and the interior of the temple is host to Kali, a cow statue and a distinctive black Buddha.
Visit on a Tuesday or Saturday afternoon/evening for a chance to browse the Karon Temple Market, or enjoy the calm and tranquillity of Wat Karon’s beachside location on almost any other day of the week. 

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