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Phuket most iconic landmark

The Phuket Big Buddha is a 45-metre-tall white marble statue visible from anywhere in the southern part of Phuket. This impressive landmark is probably at the top of everyone’s ‘Must-Do in Phuket‘ and is jaw-dropping. The panoramic views from up there are breathtaking. Koh Samui always had a very popular Giant Buddha, and Phuket wanted a bigger one. In addition, it is free to visit the Big Buddha.

Phuket Big Buddha Video

When was Phuket Big Buddha built?

Phuket Big Buddha started in 2002 as the foundation stone was laid by General Phijit Kulawanich, Privy Councilor, on May 22, 2002. The official name is ‘Phraphutthamingmongkhol-akenagakhiri Buddha’, which translates as “Happiness on top of Nakerd Mountain”.

The Construction of the Phuket Big Buddha


The statue is built with people’s donations and is still under construction. If you want to help finish the building, you can sponsor a white marble piece for 300 or 1,000 baht, depending on the tile’s size. The statue of Lord Buddha is complete now, but the sweeping staircase is still under construction.

Big Buddha Phuket

Visiting the Big Buddha

The road to the statue is well paved and easy to ride despite many curves; however, drive slowly and carefully on the way down. You will find ample and well-organised parking when reaching the top of the hill. As you approach the site, a security officer will check your attire, and if your shorts or skirts are too short, you will be required to wear a sarong, provided for free.

Phuket Big Buddha


A recently added sweeping staircase now leads to the Buddha monument. Note that the stairs are only to climb up; you are not allowed to walk them down. There is a separate way down on the hillside, and a security guard sitting there all day makes sure people respect this rule. Don’t worry if you forgot to take your photos and selfies the first time, as it’s easy to go back on the way out.

Phuket Big Buddha

If you wonder or worry, There are 94 steps to reach the Big Buddha and climbing them is relatively easy (thank you to our reader Joni for counting them for us!)

The panoramic views

You will get stunning bird views on three large bays up there. Before that day, I always thought they were far from each other. Facing the statue is Chalong Bay, and beyond it, you will even see Phang Nga Bay when the sky is clear! A few steps to the west, another short staircase will take you to a terrace from which you’ll get a beautiful view of Kata Bay and Kata Noi Bay. You might even recognise Promthep Cape and even Nai Harn Windmill. The best spot to see the third bay is to stop at the restaurant on the way up. From there, you’ll get a magnificent panorama of Karon Beach.

Kata Beach from Big Buddha Viewpoint

The site has become a tourist attraction but is imposing and worth a photo of. If you prefer more modest but beautiful temples, the sitting Buddha of Wat Kao Rang or the reclining Buddha of Wat Sri Sunthorn is more humble.

Big Buddha Phuket


The temple

On the way down, you will walk through a temple where monks sit all day to give blessings and hold occasional ceremonies, mostly for local visitors. Here too, people donate money to the temple and buy amulets. This place also serves as a museum narrating the history of the Big Buddha construction. You can purchase snacks and drinks all along the way, but no alcohol is allowed.

Is there a dress code at Phuket Big Buddha?

There is no dress code to visit Phuket Big Buddha. However, the Giant Buddha of Phuket is a tourist attraction, but it is also an active temple with monks, so remember to dress appropriately and try not to speak too loudly, as we often hear. Security will check your attire at the path entrance leading to the temple. Sleeveless shirts, too-short pants or skirts above the knee are not authorised, so if you wear short skirts or shorts, they will hand you a free sarong and ask you to wear it.

Big Buddha Dress Code

360 Panorama

Phuket Big Buddha Hike

There are two ways to hike to the Big Buddha. The long but easier way, and the short and hard way through the Karon Beach path.

1. The short but hard way:

You can walk to Phuket Big Buddha through a relatively easy hillside path opposite Baan Karon Resort on Patak Road in Karon Beach. The climb is only 2.5 kilometres on Google map and 1 Kilometre if you believe the boulder in the photo below. The climb is not too steep, but climbing to the Big Buddha site is not recommended if you have a heart condition or lack physical exercise. The dirt road is now wide and well-cleaned up, but some parts are still narrow and relatively steep. Read more

Walking to the Big Buddha of Phuket

2: The long but easier way:

You could also walk up the main road, but 5.7 kilometres from Chaofah Road would be much longer. On the bright side, you can stop at many panoramic bars and restaurants, but doing it with a motorbike is the most comfortable way, allowing you to take a break anytime you feel like it.


Where to eat nearby

Nak Kerd Seaview Panoramic Restaurant

Star Mountain Sunset Restaurant in Phuket

On the way up or down, don’t miss a chance to stop at one of the many panoramic restaurants for snacks or drinks. Enjoy a Thai lunch at Nak Kerd Seaview Cafe with a beautiful view of Karon Beach, or even just a coffee, a soft drink or a beer; the birdview is worth the photo.

Address: Chaofa West Road, Soi Yod Santhan
Open: 9.30 am – 7 pm
Tel: 087 888 9207


Star Mountain Cafe

Hours: 9 am – 9 pm
Phone: 089 287 7577

More photos

Phuket Big Buddha Info

Location: Chalong
Address: Soi Yot Sane 1, Chaofa West Rd, Nakkerd hill near Chalong
Open: 6 am – 7.30 pm
Phone: 083 556 2242
Dress Code: No short skirts or short pants, no sleeveless Tee shirts
Price: Free
Built: 2002
Official name: Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakiri
Height: 45 m

How to get to Phuket Big Buddha?

The Big Buddha is at the top of Nakkerd Hill near Chalong, south of Phuket Island. Follow the many signs on the way to Chalong Circle. It would be hard to miss and is not far from Wat Chalong. The small winding road off Chaofa West Road leads to the site and is in good condition but can be tricky on the way down; drive carefully.

  • Distance from Patong: 23 km
  • From Phuket International Airport: 45 km
  • From Phuket Town: 16 km
  • From Bangtao: 55 km
  • From Wat Chalong: 8 km

Phuket Big Buddha Map

Open this map on your phone ▷ https://goo.gl/maps/QfuQU3YyHwX2JrTR6.

See all Phuket Maps!

More reading

Hiking to Phuket Big Buddha from Karon Beach

Wat Chalong

48 Best Things to Do in Phuket and Around in 2023


11 Best Selfies Spots in Phuket for your Instagram!

FAQs about the Big Buddha

  1. Q. How tall is the Big Buddha oh Phuket?

    a. The Big Buddha is 45-meter-tall, on top of a high hill overlooking Chalong Bay.

  2. Q. Is there a dress code for Phuket Big Buddha?

    a. Yes there is a dress code: do not wear sleeveless shirts, shorts or skirts above the knee. If you do, the security guard will hand you a free sarong and ask you to wear it.

  3. Q. How much does it cost to visit the Big Buddha?

    a. Visiting the Big Buddha is free, but making a small donation is a nice gesture.

  4. Q. How can I get up there?

    a. The Big Buddha is frequently part of day trip tours, but Tuk Tuks can take you up there. Self-driving is also an easy option.

Willy Thuan
Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early and never stopped until I settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 27 years, my passion for photography and my natural curiosity has taken me to every corner of Thailand, jumping frequently between Bangkok and Phuket and basically everywhere I could go. I run Phuket101.net and manage large international online travel guides.