Wat Chalong Phuket
'A Spiritual Hub For Over 170 Years'

Wat Chalong Phuket or 'Wat Chaitararam' as it is more correctly  known is the largest Buddhist temple yet to be erected on the island of Phuket in Thailand and one of their most famous landmarks.  This stunning temple and its surrounding buildings are said to have been built around 1837, during the period of King Rama V. 

BACKGROUND

Apart from the large intricately decorated temple, there is also an impressive 61 metre high Phra Mahath chedi which is one of the most important landmarks on Phuket (see image below).   Indeed, the spiritual significance of this site brings hundreds of local Thai's here on a daily basis to both pray and seek Buddha's blessings upon themselves and their families.  

Outward signs of this devotion can be seen by the gifts of flowers that are brought to this Buddhist temple and the gold leaf that is applied to the statues which are located inside the temple.  The Wat Chalong Temple which is actually located within the Chalong sub-district of  Mueang Phuket, being one of three districts on this island along with Kathu, and Thalang districts.  However, the temple which has undergone several extensions and renovations over the years also contains a number of painted walls which depict events from the life of Buddha when he was upon the earth over 2,500 years ago.    

HISTORY

Further, the Wat Chalong Temple has featured prominently within Phuket's history, especially during the period when the island's economy was based heavily upon tin mining and the exploitation of cheap Chinese labour. 

Indeed, back in 1876 during the reign of King Rama V Phuket was being rocked by the Chinese Coolie Rebellion (i.e. Angyee Rebellion) which occurred as a result of protesting by numerous disgruntled Chinese miners.    Several people were killed during this event and the Wat Chalong Phuket, became an important place where people came to seek advice and guidance from the monks. 

One of the monks living at Wat Chalong was Luangpho Chaem, and he encouraged the the towns people to fight back and to quell the rebellion which strategy eventually worked.  

News of this reached King Rama V, who invited Luangphor Chaem to the royal palace in Bangkok, where he was bestowed the title of Phra Kru Wisit Wongsacharn.  Today, a number of wax statues including that of Luangpho Chaem are located within the air conditioned Mondop building at the temple grounds, and this allows people to both remember and pay their respects to this important monk (see image below).

In 2002, another chapter of the Wat Chalong Temple began when a  bone fragment (the Phra Borom Sareerikatat) from Sri Lanka which is said to have come from Buddha himself was placed within 61 metre high chedi. This repatriation ceremony was attended by Thailand's HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on behalf of the King of Thailand and helps to explain why this temple is of such cultural significance to the Thai population who reside on Phuket. 

FESTIVALS

However, today the Wat Chalong Phuket is more than just a static monument erected to the past; being more like a living and breathing member of the community.  This is most evident during the Chinese New Year celebrations which are held at the temple grounds each year between 30 January-6 February (see images below from 2014).  During this period there is a carnival atmosphere that prevails and the grounds are filled with shopping, tasty food, live performances and of course a Ferris Wheel and Merry-Go-Round.

GETTING THERE

The Wat Chalong Phuket is located approximately 10 kilometres south of Phuket town near Kata Beach.  The best way to travel there is by taxi or tuk-tuk.  The temple is open daily between the hours of 7 AM and 5 PM.  

The best way to travel to Phuket is by plane or bus.  Flights from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Phuket's International Airport occur daily with a number of local airlines servicing the island including Nok Air, Air Asia and Thai Airways.

Being an international airport direct flights are available to Phuket  from a number of countries including Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan to name a few.   There are an abundance of taxi's and mini-vans located outside the Phuket airport to transport you to your hotel.   

Buses to Phuket depart Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal daily with the journey taking approximately 13 hours.

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