Sharing our Phuket with you

  • Big Budha Chalong

Chalong Big Buddha The Giant Buddha View on the Andaman Sea

About 10 years ago a group of friends were walking through the forest in the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata when they stumbled upon a place with stunning vistas of both sides of the island – Chalong Bay lay in one direction while on the other they looked down over Kata and the Andaman Sea. It would, they thought, make a perfect place for a

viewpoint – something that could become as well known as Phuket’s favourite sunset viewpoint, at Laem Phromthep..

As time went on, and as the friends discussed it again and again, the idea evolved. The place in the hills, they soon agreed, would be perfect not just as a viewpoint, but as the site for something much more ambitious and, to Buddhists at least, much more significant: a giant image of the Lord Buddha. Almost there

The project had its hiccups, not least of which was battling through a mountain of red tape required to get permits to build in virgin forest at a height above the usual building limit. But the paperwork was finally completed and construction began in February last year.

Funds for the massive structure are coming entirely from donations. “This project is huge and requires a lot of money. But so far we are managing just fine. I’m amazed at the amount of help we have received from everyone who knows about this project. It seems they all want to be a part of it,” explained Suporn Wanichkul, president of the Mingmongkol Faith 45 foundation, which was formed to build the Giant Buddha. Two The smaller Buddha

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  • Wat Chalong

This is Phuket’s most important Buddhist temple. The temple is revered among Thais for its healing powers. The prayer hall contains the statues of three of the temples most venerated monks: Luang Por Chaem, Luang Por Chuang and Luang Por Gluam. However, it is Luang Por Chaem who is best known and who has given Wat Chalong its fame as a place of healing.

In 1876, during the reign of King Rama V, there was a rebellion by the Chinese tin miners, or “Angyee”. Luang Por Chaem (Lord Abbott Chaem), the abbott of the monastery at the

time,helped to stop the rebellion and acted as a mediator in the peace. The abbott was also a herbal doctor and setter of bones, and his skills were called upon to heal those wounded during the fighting.

When visiting the temple people usually go to pay respect to the statues of the venerable monks, make offerings and ask for their blessing.

Getting there:

To get to Wat Chalong from Phuket City, take the Bypass Road heading south towards Chalong for about 8kms. The temple will be on your left.

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  • Nai Harn Temple

Tucked away in a narrow protected bay on the south of Phuket is the lovely, undeveloped Nai Harn Beach. This relatively small beach is quite isolated from the rest and is best visited on day trips to escape the crowds. It is rimmed by hills but can be reached from Kata beach in about 20 minutes on a motorbike.

For a long time the only hotel on the beach was the five-star Royal Phuket Yacht Club, mainly because the rest of the beachfront land is owned by the Samnaksong Nai Harn temple, which has saved the beach from commercialisation.

The only other accommodation with a history, the tree-star Baan Krating, is reached, unusually, via a road that goes under part of the Royal Phuket Yacht Club. A more recent arrival is the All Seasons Naiharn, a very short stroll from the beach, and there is other accomodation dotted along the road to Kata.

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  • Laem Prohm-thep (or the cape of Phrohm-tep)

Laem Phrohm-tep is the point that provides the best scenic beauty of sunset in Phuket. It is the Thailand’s most famous place for this. Laem Phrohm-tep is the southernmost part of the island. Tourists may easily drive to this place for it is major tourist attraction, just follow the signs which are put up all the way down to the place. The point for viewing the sunset is up there on the cliff reachable via the staircase.

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  • Nai Harn Beach

South of Kata Noi and north of Promthep Cape, Naiharn is not Phuket’s longest beach, but it borders the most gorgeous lagoon on the island. The middle of the beach is dominated by the Samnak Song Nai Han monastery, which has obstructed excessive development and is the reason that the beach is generally less crowded than other spots on the southern part of the island.

A wide variety of water sports can be enjoyed, but swimmers should be alert for the red flag which warns of dangerous currents during the monsoon season from May to October. One can

walk to nearby Promthep Cape to observe sunsets, which are often fiery and spectacular..

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  • Chalong Pier

Chalong’s muddy East Coast shoreline makes it rather unsuitable for swimming but it’s an ideal and natural spot for yacht mooring. As well as the Boat Lagoon, Yacht Haven and Royal Phuket Marina, Chalong is a centre for intense boating activity. Early mornings and late afternoons are the busiest times at Chalong, when diving and day trip groups are bundled on and off boats. The Ao Chalong Yacht Club, which organises regular sailing races, makes its base here, and its bar is a favourite spot for sailors to swap yarns and party.

Chalong’s most noticeable feature is its 720-metre long, seven-metre wide jetty, which replaced the rickety old wooden pier in 2001. A parking area and a number of restaurants, shops, tourist information kiosks and open-air waiting areas have been built to serve the many visitors passing through. There’s also a one-stop customs, immigration and harbour master service to assist visiting vessels, as well as a new marine rescue centre. 

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  • Thai Culture

Thai culture is Buddhist. Accordingly the culture is one where individuals are taught to think for themselves and not be subjugated by religious authorities as is the case with Christain, Jewish or Muslim religions.

The essence of this culture has two principal themes, first, one must understand the difference between reality and self delusion, and second, one must understand the nature of cause and effect, that is, to understand whatever one does now will have implications later, not only in the very short term, but the very long term.

In Thai society Thai culture is such that people do not mix self delusion in their thoughts and conversation. This is seen as foolish. Good examples of self delusion include arrogance, superiority beliefs, social status etc. Some cultures do not make the distinction. The distinction is made in business matters as well as private relationships. Thai culture enables Thai people to better self distinguish their emotional desires with a cautious respect for reality.

Thai culture also calls for detachment. In some societies if people want something they have to have it whatever, in fact they strive to become part of what they seek, be it a status symbol object like a motor car or a position of social recognition. They become in their minds what they seek to obtain, the delusion is over whelming. In Thai culture such desire and attachment for objects is regarded as weekness.

To this we add the need for respect of others also a concept not really understood in western cultures. Examples of this respect are, not to shout at others, not to talk at some one, rather talk to them, not to impose on another with meaningless and convoluted talk [ thus wasting their time ], not to defame someone and respect their property in their own good name. For example, defamation is a crime in Thailand.

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