Phuket's most famous and most visited temple, Wat Chalong impresses with its quiet spirituality and unassuming grandeur. Situated outside Phuket centre, on the road towards Chalong, the temple is made up of several captivating buildings. Barefooted monks wander the paths around the main temple, incense burns softly beneath painted Buddha scenes, while Wat Chalong's quieter outer temples provide a perfect place for contemplation.
The main temple contains many Buddha statues and is revered by the Thai people, who light incense and apply gold leaf to the temple. The walls of a smaller Chedi, alongside the main temple, are colourfully painted with scenes depicting Buddha's life. There's also a small tower which offers superb views towards Radar Hill and The Big Buddha. This tower can be extremely crowded as it's said to contain a piece of Buddha's bone.Visiting in the early morning and late afternoon is better for photos and for avoiding the crowds.
Most visitors come to Wat Chalong by private transport, either from Phuket or by taxi. It is also possible to arrive by public bus. When driving, head to Central Festival Shopping Mall in the south of Phuket and take the road that's signposted to Chalong Circle. Wat Chalong can also be combined with other attractions in the south-west of Phuket, on a half or full-day trip from the city. These include Rawai Beach and Yanui Beach, along with the rolling hills that offer sublime sunset views.
Within the Wat Chalong complex is an air-conditioned room containing waxworks of the temple's founding monks. These include Luang Pho Cham and Luang Pho Chuang, who were famous for concocting herbal medicines and peacefully settling disputes between villagers and miners.