Shrine of the Serene Light
The Shrine of the Serene Light (Sangtham Shrine) used to be ‘the little hidden Chinese temple’ tucked away right under your nose on Phang Nga road, one of the most famous streets of Phuket Town. While most Thais knew all about it, only a few foreigners would be aware of its existence and proudly whisper its secret location to newbies like an old secret passage to some mystic temple.
The Shrine of the Serene Light, called Ting Kwan Tang in Chinese and Saeng Tham Shrine in Thai, was built in 1889 by a Chinese family and had initially two entrances, both hidden. The main entrance was a narrow anonymous looking gate leading to a rundown anonymous walkway located on Phang Nga road, not hidden, but no one was paying attention to what was behind it. The second entrance, however, was more entertaining: it was hiding behind the toilets of a local restaurant called Wilai, which incidentally serves delicious Hokkien Noodles among other dishes.
The anecdote of the passage next to the toilet would pop up each you would have lunch with a local expat…: “Hey did you know there was a secret passage to a hidden Chinese temple called Shrine of The Serene Light just past the toilet?” With this introduction, you suddenly became the centre of attention. Then in 2010, with Phuket rocketing popularity and tourist’s appetite for anything secret, the shrine entrance was widened and highlighted by a massive and unmissable Chinese gate. So much for the little secret, and worse, the secret passage from Wilai restaurant is now closed.
While the small shrine itself has remained untouched, keeping its original old wall paintings, ceramic roof and authentic atmosphere, the garden and buildings surrounding it have been entirely rebuilt and repainted. The result is quite pleasant and an excellent photo opportunity.
The Shrine is on Phang Nga Road which is just parallel to Thalang Road, the famous historical street of Phuket Town. Just next the Shrine is the famous On On hotel, featured in the movie ‘The Beach’ and beautiful restored since. Across the street, is an excellent Thai restaurant called Tub Kab Kao that serves great Phuket food in a beautiful house.
Photos of the Shrine of Serene Light
(See also our large Old Phuket Town Photo Gallery)
Shrine of Serene Light Information
Location: 72/1 Yaowarat Rd, Tambon Talat Yai, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83000
Open: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm