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The Big Buddha of Phuket

Phuket’s most iconic landmark

Visible from anywhere in the southern part of the island, the Big Buddha of Phuket is a 45-metre-tall white marble statue. This impressive landmark is probably at the top of everyone’s ‘Must-Do in Phuket‘. The site is superb and the size of the Buddha is humbling. with breathtaking panoramic views from the top. Most tour agencies and tuk-tuks in Phuket can take you there, and the entrance is free.

Please remember Phuket Big Buddha is a religious site, so please avoid wearing too short clothes and act respectfully when taking photos and selfies! Just think if you would act the same way in a church, a mosque or any religious site in your country. Thank you for respecting Thai cultural and religious sites. 🙂

Phuket Big Buddha Video

Visiting the Big Buddha

The Big Buddha of Phuket and the 94 steps that lead to the statue
The Big Buddha of Phuket and the 94 steps that lead to the statue

A sweeping staircase leads to the Buddha statues. 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.

The Big Buddha of Phuket with the completed staircase and two Nagas
The Big Buddha of Phuket with the completed staircase and two Nagas

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!)

Phuket Big Buddha during its construction
Phuket Big Buddha during its construction

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.

Panoramic View of Kata and Chalong

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!

Kata Beach Panorama from the viewpoint located in the back of the Big Buddha of Phuket
Kata Beach Panorama from the viewpoint located in the back of the Big Buddha of Phuket

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.

The Temple

Monks praying at the temple located at the base of the Big Buddha of Phuket
Monks praying at the temple located at the base of the Big Buddha of Phuket

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?

Dress code to visit Phuket Big Buddha
Dress code to visit Phuket Big Buddha: Sleeveless shirts, too-short pants or skirts above the knee are not authorised,

There is a dress code to visit Phuket Big Buddha: 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. While it is a popular tourist attraction, 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.

When was Phuket Big Buddha built?

Phuket Big Buddha started in 2004 as the foundation stone was laid by General Phijit Kulawanich, Privy Councilor, on May 22, 2002. The official name is ‘Phraphutthamingmongkhol-akenagakhiri Buddha’, meaning “Happiness on top of Nakerd Mountain”.

The Construction of the Phuket Big Buddha
The Construction of the Phuket Big Buddha

The statue was 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 with unfinished staircases
Big Buddha Phuket with unfinished staircases leading to the 45 metre high statue.

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. There are several ways to visit the Big Buddha of Phuket: you can ride your own rented car or motorbike, use a tuk-tuk to go up there and ask him to wait for you, join a half-day tour or even join an ATV tour. There is also a trail to hike from Karon Beach to the site, but that is quite a hike.

Daytrip Tours Including Big Buddha

Self Driving

Driving to Phuket Big Buddha
Driving up to Phuket Big Buddha.The parking is on the right.

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 Hike

The hike from Karon to Big Buddha is a 2.6 km steep walk
The hike from Karon to Big Buddha is a 2.6 km steep walk

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. It takes about an hour with rest breaks. The hike is moderately challenging. One short section is steep and slippery and needs to use the ropes. 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 about hikes to Big Buddha

360 Panorama

Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong from above
Wat Chalong from above, just a few km from the Big Buddha

Wat Chalong in Phuket is the most visited Buddhist temple, renowned for its size and reverence. Historical accounts suggest that it was constructed in the early 19th century, precisely in 1837. Standing tall on the temple premises is a 60-meter chedi that safeguards a sacred bone relic of Lord Buddha. The temple’s walls and ceilings are adorned with exquisite paintings portraying key events from Buddha’s life, while each floor is adorned with generously donated, majestic golden statues.

Read More!

Where to Eat Nearby?

Nak Kerd Seaview Panoramic Restaurant

Nakkerd Seaview Cafe, just before reaching the Big Buddha Phuket
Nakkerd Seaview Cafe, just before reaching the Big Buddha Phuket

On the way up or down, don’t miss a chance to stop at one of the 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. Read more

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

Star Mountain Cafe

Star Mountain Cafe on the hill leading to Phuket Big Buddha
Star Mountain Cafe on the hill leading to Phuket Big Buddha

Star Mountain Cafe is another tiny open-air restaurant with sweeping views of the bay of Karon below. The cafe is located just before arriving at the Big Buddha and serves drinks and good simple Thai food.

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

More photos

Information

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
Admission: Free
Built: 2004
Official name: Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakiri
Height: 45 m


Phuket Big Buddha Map

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

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Fast Facts about Phuket Big Buddha

🧱 Year of construction2004
🕗 Opening hours:6 am to 7 pm
📷 Viewpoints on:Kata, Karon, Chalong
👫 Dress code:no shorts or short skirts
🍴 Restaurant nearby:Nakkerd Seaview Restaurant
🏃‍♂️ Hike from Karon:2.6 km
🚙 Distance from Kata Beach:12 km
🚙 Distance from Patong Beach:24 km
🚙 Distance from Bang Tao Beach:37 km
✈️ Distance from Phuket International Airport:47 km
4.4/5 - (260 votes)