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Wat Phra Thong in Phuket (Wat Prathong)

Wat Prathong in Thalang

Wat Phra Thong (or Wat Prathong), meaning ‘Golden Buddha Image Temple is a very old temple with an incredible legend behind it, the kind of story that irresistibly attracts people. It’s not very big or impressive, but everyone first wants to see the famous half-buried golden Buddha. So what is this strange legend about a temple in Thalang on the way to Phuket Airport?

Wat Phra Tong

The story of Wat Phra Thong

A long time ago in Thalang, a boy tied the rope of his buffalo to a piece of wood sticking out of the pasture ground… big mistake! This was a ‘finial’, the conical shape at the top of a very large Buddha image almost entirely buried. The boy became ill and soon died, as well as his buffalo. Following a dream he had, the boy’s father went to have a look at this stick to find out what it was. Villagers tried to free the statue, but the diggers were attacked by swarms of hornets coming out from the dug-up earth, while the spectators were left unharmed.

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Later, during the invasion of Thalang town by the Burmese Army, Burmese soldiers tried to excavate the statue to take it back to Burma. But this time, they were attacked and bitten by swarms of tiny ants from the dug earth. Hundreds of Burmese soldiers fell ill and died. The remaining soldiers set the ants on fire but could not dig deeper than the statue’s neck when the ruler of Nakhon Si Thammarat eventually liberated the city.

wat phra tong temple phuket

Finally, in 1750, a monk from Sukhothai convinced the villagers that building the temple around the Buddha image was better. The original Buddha head was covered with a new image for religious performances, which explains the perfect condition of the current half statue.

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Today the ground of Wat Phra Thong consists of several temples and even a museum displaying items from the tin mining era, mostly given by locals. Now you know the story, you can visit the temple and tell your friend about it, and remember not to tie your buffalo everywhere 🙂 Wat Phra Thong is open daily from 8 am to 5.30 pm. When you are driving back from the Airport, the street leading to Wat Phra Thong is on your left, almost at the Thalang intersection, but it is not well indicated.

Photos of Wat Phra Thong

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Wat Phra Thong Info

Location: Thalang
Address: 170, Tambon Thep Krasatti, Thalang, Phuket 83110
Open
: 8 am – 5:30 pm
Phone: 076 274 126
Price: Free
Dress Code: No short skirts or short pants, no sleeveless T-shirts

Wat Phra Thong Map

What’s around?

Tonsai Waterfall in Thalang

More Temples in Phuket

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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!