- July 4, 2016
- Phuket Highlights
Phuket’s Big Buddha
is visible from most of the southern parts of the island. On the crest of a 400-metre-high hill and standing regally at 45 metres with a 25-metre base it’s the largest Buddha image in Thailand. The image’s official name is Phra Puttamingmokol Akenakkiri Buddha but almost every islander, Thai or western, calls it the Big Buddha. Coated with white marble tiles, it glints brightly in the sunshine and is truly memorable from all angles.
To access the Big Buddha follow the well-marked signs to Soi Yodsane off Chao Fa West and head up the hill. You’ll pass quite a few restaurants and bars with great views on the way up so take your pick if you’ve got time to stop and enjoy the sights either on your way up or down.
Arriving, you’ll pass through an entrance to a temple lined with donation boxes (access to the image is free but donations are encouraged). Then take the winding steps up to the image itself. You’ll see why people keep coming back to this spot as the views are simply phenomenal: down below is Chalong Bay with its flotilla of yachts while to the north is Phuket Town and this vantage point takes in the island’s ‘spine’ of hills towering over disused tin mines that have since become lakes and on a clear day you can even spy distant Phang Nga Bay.
If you stroll to the western side of the image you’ll see Kata and Kata Noi beaches below and the shiny white windmills above Ya Nui Beach and of course the horizon over the sparkling Andaman Sea. As this is a western-facing spot it’s also a great sunset-viewing place. On this side of the Buddha stands a smaller Buddha image made from brass. This one weighs no less than 22 tons and is 12 metres high. The large image was built in honour of HM King Bhumibol’s 80th birthday and the smaller image in honour of HM Queen Sirikat though neither royal personage has been to the site.
Please note that visitors are requested to dress respectfully and that bare shoulders and short skirts are not considered acceptable however there is a volunteer at the entrance who lends out sarongs to ‘cover up’. The best times of day to visit the Big Buddha are in the morning and early evening as the tropical sun can get quite harsh at midday.
BTW: Bismarck’s Paradise is located 30km from Big Buddha away.