Built in 1837, the Wat Chalong temple is the largest and most revered temple among the great number of temples in Phuket island. Locals and many Thais come from the other places of the country come to pay respects to the revered monks who were the founders of Wat Chalong. The temple is one of the must-see spot together with the nearby Big Buddha as they are relatively close to each other.
History and stories of Wat Chalong
The temple has lots of legends and stories, one of which is related to Chinese Coolie Rebellion in 1876.
In the past centuries, tin mining industry was the pillars of Phuket's wealth. Most of the employees in the mines were immigrants from China. In 1876, the Chinese Coolie Rebellion or Angyee Rebellion broke out across Phuket and several people got killed during the rebellion. The local Thai people were scared and came to the temple for advice and help from the revered monks. Luang Phor Cham, the Abbott of Wat Chalong at that time, assisted the people fighting against the Angyee, although, being a monk, he could not fight himself. After the rebellion had been suppressed, he was invited by King Rama V to Bangkok, where he received the title of Phra Kru Wisit Wongsacharm and a statue of him was settled in the mondop building.
There is a magical legend about Luang Phor Cham's walking stick. Local Thais believe the stick had healing powers. Many people said to be cured of stomach pains after touching the stick. This famous stick is still kept in the ubosot, but not allowed to be viewed by the public.
As matter of fact, Wat Chalong has a long history of being associated with cure. Two former abbots of the temple were very famous for their knowledge of herbal medicine and they healed many local people. Their statues are contained in the viham with gold leaves covering their bodies. Local people keep on coming here to pay their respect.
Devotees offer lotus flowers, light candles and apply gold leaves to show their respect to the Buddha statues and pray for health, wealth and good luck in the temple. In order to show gratitude for prayers, the temple often shoot off firecrackers.
What to see in Wat Chalong
The 60 meters high stupa is the tallest building on the grounds of Wat Chalong which is sheltering a bone fragment of Buddha. Beautiful murals on the walls and ceilings showing the most significant steps of Buddha's life. There are large donated golden statues in each floor.
Wat Chalong Chedi is built on the third floor. Climb all the way up to the top floor then you will get a wonderful bird-eye view on the entire temple grounds. A few steps lead you to a glass display where you see the fragment bones of the Buddha. The Phuket Big Buddha can be seen from here, as a matter of fact, it can be seen from anywhere in the southern part of the Phuket.
The central temple is the place where Thai people make merit by offering lotus flowers and pasting gold leaves to the monk's statues.
Dress code at Wat Chalong
General speaking, temples are the sacred places for Thais, so you should wear respectfully. Short pants, short skirts and sleeveless shirts are not suitable. When you enter a building in the temple, please remove your shoes.
How to get to Wat Chalong
The temple locates almost 10km south of Phuket town just east to Kata beach in the south eastern corner of the island. You can get there by taxi or tuk-tuk.
Wat Chalong is open from 7:00am to 5:00pm every day.
It is better to visit it on weekdays. On the weekends especially the Thai public holidays the grounds of the temple will be very busy.
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