Big Buddha,Karon | Thailand
Phuket's Big Buddha is one of the island's most important and revered landmarks. The huge image sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and at 45 metres high it is easily seen from far away.
The lofty site offers the best 360-degree views of the island (think sweeping vistas of Phuket Town, Kata, Karon beaches, Chalong Bay and more.) Easily reachable via a six-kilometre road leading from Phuket's main artery, it's a must-visit island destination.
Close up to the image itself it is very peaceful and the only noises you will hear are the tinkling of small bells and the yellow Buddhist flags in the compound flapping in the wind plus soft background dharma music.
This touching message is typical of those written on the thousands of bricks and white marble slabs used to make up the image. On a good day more than 1,000 people visit the site, many of whom donate money for maintenance and write messages on the purchased items for good luck and in memory of passed-away loved ones.
Funds for the massive structure come entirely from donations. “This project is huge and requires a lot of money," comments Suporn Wanichkul, President of the Mingmongkol Faith 45 Foundation formed to build the image.
Near the base of the Big Buddha, there is a hall displaying the project's history, some Buddhist teachings and countless donation boxes. For some visitors the donation boxes, with their incessant requests for cash, can be a real eyesore and a bit of a disappointment to see in such a holy place.
But whether visitors like it or not the whole project relies on public donations.
What to Wear
Avoid beachwear, short skirts and T-shirts with offensive texts or images. If you feel you have dressed a little too daringly for a religious site you can always ask for a sarong to cover up with from the site centre, free of charge.
Buddhist followers and visitors are invited to be co-sponsors and make financial contributions for the statues construction when they visit. Contributions vary according to the person but most visitors will opt for the smallest donation – A piece of small white marble with your message engraved costs 300THB