How to get to the Big Buddha of Phuket?
The Big Buddha Phuket is a 45-meter-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 it is indeed a superb site and the panoramic views from up there are breathtaking. Koh Samui always had a very popular Giant Buddha, and it seems that Phuket wanted to have a bigger one.
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’ that translates as “Happiness on top of Nakerd Mountain”.
The statue is built with people’s donations and is still under construction. If you feel like doing something to help to finish the broad base of the Buddha, you can sponsor a piece of white marble for 300 or 1,000 baht depending on the size of the tile. At this time the Buddha is complete but the wide staircase is still under construction.
Reaching the Big Buddha
The road to the statue is well paved and easy to ride despite a lot of curves, just drive slowly and carefully on the way down. When reaching the top of the hill, you will find ample and well-organised parking. As you approach the site, a security officer with check your attire and if your shorts or skirts are too short, you will be required to wear a sarong, provided for free.
A recently added wide 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 separate way down on the side of the hill, 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, it’s very easy to go back on the way out.
In case 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
From up there you will get some pretty stunning bird view on three large bays. Before that day, I always thought they were far from each other. Directly in front of the Big Buddha is Chalong Bay and when the sky is clear, you will see all the way to Phang Nga Bay. 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 actually to stop at the restaurant on the way up. From up there you’ll get from there a magnificent panorama of Karon Beach.
The Big Buddha of Phuket is a site to visit. It has become a bit of a tourist attraction, but it is indeed imposing and worth a photo. 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.
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 for the temple and buy amulets. This place also serves as a museum narrating the history of the Big Buddha construction. All along the way, you can buy snacks and drinks, but of course, no alcohol is allowed.
Is there a dress code?
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. At the entrance of the path leading to the temple, security will check your attire. Sleeveless shirts, too short pants or skirt 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.
How to get to Phuket Big Buddha?
Just follow the many signs on the way to Chalong Circle. It would be hard to miss, and it is not far from Wat Chalong. The road leading to the site itself is now in good condition but can be tricky on the way down, drive carefully. See also 10 Viewpoints of Phuket.
On the way up or down, don’t miss a chance to stop at one of the many panoramic restaurants for a short break. Enjoy a Thai lunch with a beautiful view of Karon Beach, or even just a coffee, a soft drink or a beer, the view is really worth the photo.
Big Buddha Phuket Info
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 too short pants
Big Buddha Phuket Map
If you are on mobile, add the map here: https://goo.gl/maps/cWfkqKY8uchkiXqa9
FAQs about the Big Buddha
a. The Big Buddha is 45-meter-tall, on top of a high hill overlooking Chalong Bay.
a. 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.
a. Visiting the Big Buddha is free, but making a small donation is a nice gesture.
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.