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Wat Chalong – Phuket’s most important temple

Phuket’s most important temple

Wat Chalong, or Chalong Temple (officially Wat Chai Thararam), is the largest, most revered and most visited Buddhist temple in Phuket. According to some sources, it was built at the beginning of the 19th century, 1837. Chalong Temple is one of the Must-See places in Phuket, and the nearby Big Buddha of Phuket, as they are relatively close.

Arriving at Wat Chalong Temple in Phuket
Arriving at Wat Chalong Temple in Phuket

Wat Chalong Video

The central temple is where most Thai people will make merit by offering lotus flowers and adding a small piece of gold paper to the monk’s statues inside.

Wat Chalong from above
Wat Chalong from above

Once in a while, you will hear loud explosions of firecrackers coming from a brick oven-like construction. That’s another way to make merit, supposedly to show gratitude when one of your wishes comes true. One person stands by to light the firecrackers for you; the big ones are pretty scary but make fun photos.

Sun reflecting on Wat Chalong in the morning
Sun reflecting on Wat Chalong in the morning

On the temple side, a dozen small shops sell all kinds of souvenirs and tourist stuff. But, strangely, the shops selling religious items are outside the temple ground, next to the gate.

People enjoy taking photos in the garden surrounding the temple
People enjoy taking photos in the garden surrounding the temple

There are occasional funfairs displaying lots of food, plenty of favourite Thai games and big stage performances. It’s always fun, noisy, and entertaining and will undoubtedly give you exciting opportunities to take fun photos and insight into Thai life.

Wat Chalong is also known as Wat Chai Thararam
Wat Chalong is also known as Wat Chai Thararam

Inside the Chedi

The tallest building on the temple grounds is a 60 meters tall stupa (chedi) sheltering a bone fragment of Lord Buddha. Beautiful paintings retracing the most significant Buddha’s life steps decorate the walls and ceilings of the temple. Each floor is also full of large, donated golden statues.

The tall iconic chedi of Wat Chalong in Phuket
The tall iconic chedi of Wat Chalong in Phuket

The chedi (stupa) of Chalong Temple is built on three floors, so feel free to climb to the top terrace to get a beautiful bird’s view of the entire temple grounds. A few more steps will lead you to a glass display where you can contemplate the fragment of bone.

Wat Chalong Bird View, seen from the chedi
Wat Chalong Bird View, seen from the Chedi

You can see the nearby Phuket Big Buddha from there, but you can see it almost anywhere in the southern part of Phuket island.

How to Get to Wat Chalong?

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Renting a van with a driver is the best value for money and stress-free way to explore Phuket as it is flexible and includes a visit to Big Buddha, Wat Chalong and Old Phuket Town. The itinerary can be customized as the driver speaks English and knows the area well. The price for the whole van is between 2,400 and 2,700 baht for the whole van, up to 8 passengers! depending on your hotel location. Book your day trip!

Is there a dress code at Wat Chalong?

Always remove your shoes before entering a temple
Always remove your shoes before entering a temple

There is no strict dress code for visiting Chalong Temple. Theoretically, you should wear long pants and no sleeveless shirts on the temple’s grounds, but this requirement seems to belong to a past era. There is no need to tell you to remove your shoes before entering any of the buildings; you hopefully already know that. A sea of shoes randomly abandoned in front of the temple will remind you anyway.

  • There is no entry fee.
  • Dress respectfully.
  • Take off your shoes and remove caps or hats when entering a building.

Making merit with firecrackers!

Firecrackers are used for making merit
Firecrackers are used for making merit

Firecrackers are often used in Thai temples as a way of making merit, expressing gratitude, or celebrating special occasions such as festivals and ceremonies. In Thai culture, making merit is a significant aspect of Buddhism and involves performing good deeds or acts of generosity to accumulate positive karma.

Wat Chalong Fair

Wat Chalong Fair in Phuket

Wat Chalong Fair is a festival with stage performances, firecrackers, chaotic markets and spinning carnival rides. For about 10 days each year Phuket’s largest temple is host to just such an event. Every year during the Chinese New Year holiday, big crowds flock to Wat Chalong for its week-long fun fair.

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The Big Buddha near Wat Chalong

The construction of Big Buddha Phuket started in 2004
The famous Phuket Big Buddha is on top of the hill near Wat Chalong

Phuket Big Buddha, the most iconic landmark of Phuket Island is just 6 km east of Wat Chalong and is often included in day trip tours.

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Photos of Wat Chalong

Street View


Wat Chalong Info

Location: between Phuket town and Chalong
Address: 70/6 Chao Fah Tawan Tok Road, Chalong, Phuket 83130
Open: 7 am – 5 pm (but you can walk around the temple grounds anytime)
Phone: 076 381 226
Dress Code: No short skirts or short pants, no sleeveless Tee shirts
Price: Free
Built: 1837
Official name: Wat Chai Thararam

This story was first published on June 6, 2016

How to get to Wat Chalong?

Wat Chalong is easy to find on Chaofa Road, between Phuket Town and Chalong, south of Phuket Island. Just follow the many signs on the way to Chalong Circle. From Phuket town, take Chaofah Road to Chalong and Rawai. There are two Chaofah Roads: the one you need passes in front of the Central Festival and all the shopping malls. It’s about 10 km south of Central Mall, on the left and well indicated.

Distance from Patong to the temple: 16 km
From Phuket International Airport: 37 km
From Phuket Town: 9 km
From Bangtao: 29 km
From the Big Buddha: 8 km

Wat Chalong Map

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Willy Thuan

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early until I settled in Phuket in 1994. For the past 30 years, my passion for photography and my curiosity have taken me to every corner of Phuket, Bangkok and everywhere I could go in Thailand. My goal is to share my discoveries, photos and tips to help travellers plan their holidays by making Phuket 101 as easy as possible to use for everyone!