If you are visiting Phuket then make sure you get to see one or more of its many temples or Wats as they are known in Thailand. The largest is Wat Chalong which is towards the south of the island, but there are plenty of others which still have great history and stories and may be a bit less busy.
Phuket Temple etiquette
Dress modestly – no bare shoulders , shorts or skirts above the knee (we would recommend bringing a shawl to wrap around yourself)
Remove your shoes, hats and sunglasses as you enter the worship area
Turn off your mobile phone, keep your voice lowered and don’t eat or take photos
Do not make contact with the monks (unless you have made prior arrangements) and don’t get in the way of people worshipping there
Point the soles of your feet away from the temple or Buddha and back away as you leave
Don’t touch or point during your visit and generally be respectful
What to expect of your visit
Locals usually visit Phuket temples to worship but do feel free to join in so long as you’re respectful. Visitors normally visit the temple shop to buy offerings for Buddha. These might be flowers and candles which they place on a rack in the temple. They may also bring gold foil which they stick to the image of Buddha or they place josh sticks in the tubs provided.
You might also see some visitors performing unfamiliar rituals. If you see people rattling a cup full of sticks and extract one, the stick bears a number which then predicts their fortune. If you see people closing their eyes and throwing two blocks at the floor, then they are asking a question and the way the block lands is giving them an answer. It is also considered a lucky time when you visit a Phuket temple, so many people buy lottery tickets straight afterwards, hence you might see lots of lottery tickets being sold!
The largest and most revered and therefore the most visited Buddhist temple in Phuket. Built in the late 18th century / early 19th century is has a rich history and has had an important influence on Phuket history. You will find it to the south west of Phuket Town.
Wat Khao Rang
A famous ‘sitting Buddha’ golden temple built on the side of the Khao Rang Hill and not far from Phuket Town. It is generally less busy than Wat Chalong and is an impressive sight. There are lots of steps up to the temple but the climb is worth it.
If you are in the south part of Phuket near Karon, you might spot the Big Buddha from afar as it is an impressive 45m white marble statue at the top of a hill. It is worth a visit just for the panoramic views which are spectacular.
Wat Phra Thong
A very old Phuket temple near Layan / Bang Tao Beach, which is famous for its half buried golden Buddha which legend has it – is untouchable. Over the years various people have tried to remove the Buddha but they all became ill and are said to have been cursed. The most recent incident of this tale was when the Burmese army tried to take the statue back to Burma. The soldiers tried to dig up the statue they were attacked by ants and many became ill and died. A monk finally persuaded the village to build a temple around the half buried statue.
Wat Srisoonthorn (Wat Lipon)
A large golden reclining Buddha in the Thalang region. The Buddha is reclining and shown to be dreaming, dreaming being very important to Buddhists. If you are in this area check out the Heroines Monument which is on a roundabout on the Thepkasattri Road in Thalang. The monument represents two Phuket ladies who led locals to fight against Burmese invaders.
As well as temples or Wats, Phuket also has some notable Chinese Shrines. Phuket has a large Chinese population and there is a strong Chinese influence on the island. Their religion is a combination of Buddhism and Taoist Gods.
Wat Sophon Wanaram
A small but brightly coloured Phuket temple between the Heroine Monument and the Bang Pae Waterfalls. It is near to the Yamu peninsular.
Jui Tui Shrine
Located in Phuket Town, near the main market the Jui Tui Shrine is the place that people go to celebrate special events such as Birthdays, weddings, births etc… or to share their sorrows in life. One of the most popular shrines in Phuket, and it comes to life during the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival where many of the ceremonies take place.
Kiew Tien Keng Shrine
Located in on the coast of Phuket Town in the Saphan Hin Park, it is one of the most important Taoist Shrines in Phuket. Its situation overlooking the ocean, makes it a very peaceful place to visit. Definitely worth seeking out if want a break from the hustle and bustle of the town.
Where to stay
If you are interested in visiting Phuket and some of its temples or shrines, then we have a great portfolio of accommodation options here at Resava Holidays. From luxury award winning resorts to private villas to funky apartments in the heart of Patong we are sure to have something to suit your needs.
If you want to know more about places to visit and things to do in Phuket, then please look at our main blog page and follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and join in on the fun on Instagram. See you in Phuket!