Going to Thailand to Phuket? Do not forget to include the famous Wat Chalong in the route! This is a cult place, which is included in the list of top attractions on the island.
Wat Chalong (Wat Chayyatararam) is not only the most famous, but also the largest temple in Phuket. The history of the symbol of the island, located 10 km south of Phuket Town, began in the 19th century. Unfortunately, historians have not been able to establish the exact date of its foundation. It is only known that the first mention of this religious building dates back to 1837. It was made popular by the monk Luang Phu Chemu, who knows herbalist and chiropractor. The legendary cane of the doctor, possessing powerful healing properties, is stored until then.
Currently, Wat Chalong is under royal protection and is the main place for pilgrimage. In addition, annual fairs, public holidays, vegetarian festivals and other events attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world are held on its territory.
Architecture and Interior
The temple complex of Wat Chalong in Phuket consists of several buildings and pavilions designed by Phra Maha Fuang Suchanonato, a famous Thai architect. Let’s consider each of them.
Ubosot – the main part of the monastery, intended for traditional religious ceremonies. Unfortunately, it is inaccessible to tourists, and for the monks themselves is open only during the services. At other times, access to the building is strictly prohibited.
The highest structure of the complex, decorated with a snow-white pointed tower, is considered an important attraction in Phuket. Chedi Phra Mahathat or the main Pagoda was erected in the early 2000s. for storing the ashes of Buddha obtained from a piece of humerus. Now it is stored in a special flask on a pedestal made in the form of a huge marble lotus.
Inside Chedi Phra Mahathat is unusually beautiful. The halls of the temple are decorated with frescoes illustrating the life of the Buddha, gilding and sparkling decorative elements that reflect the sun’s rays and make the interior of the monastery shimmer with all the colors of the rainbow. The tower offers panoramic views of the surroundings of Chalong Temple and the Big Buddha Monument. In addition, here you can see the canonical statues of the “enlightened” sitting in various poses and depicting 7 days of the week. By virtue of this, every Thai needs to know what day he was born in order to offer prayers specifically to his statue.
The cruciform vihara is a pavilion that holds bronze sculptures of 3 healer monks – Loung Por Chema and Loung Por Chuanga. They say that if you ask the idols for health and attach a gilded foil to their sculptures, then the desire will certainly come true. Another characteristic feature of the vihara is the huge stone statue of an elephant located at the entrance. Locals believe that anyone who wipes the sides of this animal will be lucky in everything.
Another important part of the Wat Chalong temple is the so-called kuti, a beautiful structure made of natural wood in dark color, in which the abbot’s room and all administrative rooms are located. The original building remains unknown – the house was restored according to preserved photographs. The famous staff of the healer Chem is also stored here.
The main part of the crematorium is reserved for a 4-meter brick oven, in which, in addition to people, carcasses of elephants and sacred Thai animals were burned. Now the bodies of only the most honorable and respected residents of Phuket are brought to the monastery crematorium. They burn them in white robes, symbolizing the cleansing of the soul from earthly sins and sufferings. Farewell to the dead passes to calm, but not mournful melodies.
The territory of the temple complex is planted with numerous trees and fragrant outlandish flowers, between which there are statues reflecting the life and religious traditions of Thais. The pond, in which huge carps and turtles live (they are allowed to feed), deserves no less attention. On the other side of the pond there are several houses offering daily rental housing. Those who wish to have a snack can use the services of numerous street vendors.
How to get to Chalong Temple?
If you do not know how to get to the Chalong Temple in Phuket, remember that you can visit it both with an organized tour of Phuket and as an independent tourist.
A great option for those who know how to ride this type of transport. To hit the road, just enter the name “Wat Chalong” in the navigator and carefully study the proposed route. The only drawback is the steep mountain pass, which will be difficult to cross.
Perhaps the most convenient, but also very expensive way to get to the place (especially for those who settled far from Chalong). If you want to save money, take a shopping tour, in which you will be taken to various shops, and at the same time you will be taken to any other place, including this temple. However, shopping is not necessary.
The main attractions of Phuket can be reached from almost all island beaches:
- Kata and Karon – direct route “Phuket Town – Karon – Kata”;
- Patong – by bus to the center of Phuket or the shopping center, changing to a direct bus (the stop is located across the road);
- Yanui, Rawai and Nai Harn – via Phuket Town or, which is several times faster, go beyond the first ring, cross the road and take a direct flight.
The fare is about 40 baht. Buses depart every half hour.
Dress code and rules of conduct
At Wat Chalong Temple in Phuket, as well as other shrines of Thailand, there is a strict dress code, which every visitor must observe.
- You cannot enter the monastery in too open clothes, and even more so in the beach.
- Women should wear a skirt to the knees or trousers, as well as a sweater with sleeves.
- If in your wardrobe there were no things suitable for going to religious institutions, then throw a stole or a wide scarf – they will be able to cover your shoulders. The head may remain uncovered.
- As for men, they should not go in too short shorts or with a bare torso. Otherwise, there are no bans
- Shoes will need to be removed and left at the door. They go barefoot in the temple, however, nobody will especially scold for socks.
- And one more thing – you should speak quietly, and behave – calmly and steadily, in no case without touching the statues and other Buddhist relics. You can take pictures in the temple.
- Address: Chao Fah Tawan Tok Road, Chalong, Phuket, Thailand.
- Opening hours of the temple: 07:00 – 17:00 daily.
- Cost of visit: free.
On a note! Near the entrance to Wat Chalong there are small boxes with the inscription “Donation”, designed to collect voluntary donations. Amount can be any. In addition, money is often left inside the monastery in designated areas.
When planning to visit Chalong Temple in Phuket, take note of a few important recommendations.
- Do not buy souvenirs and offerings to monks in shops located near the monastery gates. In chain supermarkets, these products are several times cheaper.
- Are you planning to release small fish into the pond? Move away from the main staircase. Best of all – to the reeds. Otherwise, fry can become food for adults accustomed to constant treats.
- Do not take pictures at the crematorium or with your back to the Buddha. This is not only a clear manifest of disrespect for Thai culture, but also a bad omen. Locals believe that such images can lead to great misfortune.
- Those who wish to experience the true atmosphere of this cult place should go to the temple in the morning. Closer to 10 hours there is no longer pushing through.
Do not waste a minute – go to Wat Chalong! A luxurious exterior, bright multi-tiered roofs, a towering spire and stunning panoramas from the observation deck of the monastery will provide you with beautiful photographs and truly unforgettable emotions.