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Visiting The Big Buddha in Phuket, Thailand: All You Need To Know

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know before visiting The Big Buddha in Phuket, from how to get there to what to expect when you arrive, what to wear, where to eat nearby, and even how to hike there.
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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Croatian-Slovenian full-time travel duo, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists for over 4 years. We write in-depth travel guides about destinations we have personally visited, providing practical travel tips and recommendations.

Drone aerial view of the Big Buddha in Phuket, Thailand

About Phuket Big Buddha

The Big Buddha in Phuket, in the south of Thailand, is an impressive 45-meter tall white jade marble statue that sparkles in the sunlight atop Nakkerd Hill.

Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakiri, the official name for The Big Buddha in Phuket, is the island’s most iconic landmark and a symbol of peace and spirituality.

From the base of the Big Buddha, you can get stunning panoramic views of a big part of the island’s south. So it’s no wonder it’s one of the top photo spots on the island.

Drone aerial view of the Big Buddha in Phuket, Thailand

The temple at The Big Buddha in Phuket is a working Buddhist temple with residing monks, showcasing traditional Thai architecture. You can meditate in a serene ambiance or observe monks’ daily routines that provide an authentic glimpse into temple life.

A common thing to do at the Big Buddha temple is to partake in activities like offering flowers, incense, and candles as symbols of respect and worship. However, that’s done mainly by local Thai and other Buddhist travelers.

The construction of Phuket’s Big Buddha began in 2004, funded by donations. Its foundation is firmly anchored for stability against natural elements, which is very important due to its location on a hill where adverse weather is typical. The statue stands proudly as a reminder of the devotion of the local community.

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Big Buddha Phuket Travel Tips

Before we dive into the details about visiting The Big Buddha in Phuket, we’d like to share some essential travel tips so you can be best prepared for your visit.

When visiting Phuket’s Big Buddha, it’s important to dress modestly, wear comfortable shoes, and carry water and sunscreen on hot days.

Be prepared to take off your shoes before entering the temple itself (inside area).

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Book trusted tours

Phuket and Big Buddha are easy to explore on your own, but in some cases, a guided experience is a better choice. We recommend booking the top-rated ones on Viator or GetYourGuide.

Get travel insurance

While Phuket is a safe destination, we recommend getting travel insurance for any trip outside your country. We highly recommend an insurance package from Heymondo. And as our reader, you get 5% off the price.

Travel map

We have compiled a Big Buddha Travel Map, which you can refer to when exploring.

What to expect at the Big Buddha in Phuket

Witness the breathtaking panorama of Phuket’s coastline and lush landscapes while enjoying a cool breeze atop the Nakkerd Hill on which the iconic Big Buddha statue stands as a symbol of Buddhism.

Staircase to Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

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Did you know? You can see the Big Buddha Statue from quite far away, as it sits on a hill without much greenery obstructing it. So, even if you don’t visit the site, you will likely see Phuket’s Big Buddha while traveling between Phuket Old Town and Kata or Karon beaches through Chalong.

From the elevated site of the Big Buddha, you are treated to panoramic views of the island, which is a must-see in Phuket.

View of Phuket island from Big Buddha, Thailand

Some of the things you can see from the area of the Big Buddha are the beaches of Kata and Kata Noi, Chalong Bay, and, in the distance, Promthep Cape.

IMPORTANT

Unfortunately, on the way up to the Big Buddha, you can see lots of elephants used for tourism. There will be many people offering you elephant rides or chances to interact with a baby elephant. And there is also a tiger park, which you should avoid.

We kindly ask you not to support animal tourism!

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What are the opening times and ticket prices for Phuket Big Buddha?

The Big Buddha in Phuket allows visitors access free of charge. However, the temple accepts donations to help with the maintenance and upkeep of the site.

The Phuket Big Buddha is open from 6 am to 6:30 pm; however, you can freely explore the temple grounds anytime.

45 meter tall white marble Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

Things to see at Phuket’s Big Buddha

The best things to see at The Big Buddha in Phuket are the 45-meter tall white marble Buddha statue, the fantastic panoramic views of the island, and the inside of a working temple on site.

Golden statues at Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

Things to do at Phuket Big Buddha:

  • See fantastic panoramic views.
  • Engage in the temple visit tradition by offering prayers, lighting incense, and making donations.
  • Find inner tranquility at peaceful meditation spots within the temple grounds.
  • Gain insight into Thai Buddhist culture by observing local worshipers.
  • Capture lasting memories with photographs of the details and surroundings.
  • Observe monkeys going about their monkey business.

View of Phuket from Big Buddha, Thailand
The view is much nicer on a sunny day. 😀

The Seven Buddha Postures for Each Day

At Phuket’s Big Buddha, seven Buddha statues, each for a day of the week, exhibit unique postures and symbolize different aspects of enlightenment.

Saturday Buddha posture - seven buddha postures for each day, Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand
Saturday Buddha Posture – Protected by the Naga King

Watch out for the cheeky monkeys

While visiting the Big Buddha temple in Phuket, you will encounter many monkeys.

It is important to exercise caution and be mindful of your belongings, as these monkeys are known to snatch food and other items from tourists.

Please do not touch or feed the monkeys, as it can cause aggressive behavior. Remember to keep a safe distance from them and enjoy their company from afar.

Monkeys warning sign at Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

The best time to visit the Big Buddha in Phuket

The best time to visit The Big Buddha in Phuket is early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler and the crowds are smaller. This will allow you to fully appreciate the island’s stunning views and the temple’s peaceful atmosphere.

If you visit during the middle of the day, you may find it difficult to fully enjoy your experience due to the heat and large crowds. It is one of the top Phuket attractions, after all.

It’s also worth noting that The Big Buddha can become much busier during Buddhist holidays and festivals, so it’s best to plan your visit accordingly.

GOOD TO KNOW

Songkran Festival (Thai New Year) takes place in April. It’s when water fights are organized all over the country.

How to get to The Big Buddha in Phuket

Phuket’s Big Buddha is easily accessible from popular nearby tourist areas like Karon and Kata Beach in about 25 minutes, Phuket Old Town in 30 minutes, and just 15 minutes from Wat Chalong.

You can get to Phuket’s Big Buddha by driving there by car or motorbike or by a private van or car service, the most common way to visit. Plus, there are also many day tours to Big Buddha (including other attractions).

And you can also walk/hike up from Chalong on a road or from Karon on a forest trail. What’s great is that at the top, there are usually tuk-tuks and taxis available to take you back down.

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Big Buddha seen from a road in Chalong, Phuket, Thailand

Day trips visiting The Big Buddha

Exploring Phuket’s Big Buddha is super convenient on a Phuket Guided Tour, where you can also visit other tourist attractions like Wat Chalong and Phuket Old Town. It’s how most visitors who don’t rent cars or motorbikes in Phuket come to The Big Buddha.

BIG BUDDHA TOURS


Self-Driving to The Big Buddha

Renting a car in Phuket is relatively affordable, so you can easily self-drive to reach the Big Buddha.

Despite the numerous curves, the path leading to The Big Buddha statue is well-paved and suitable for smooth rides. Along the way, you can stop at other viewpoints that offer views of Phuket Island.

And once you reach the top, you can park in the free big parking lot. And there’s also a free toilet right next to it.

Road towards the Big Buddha in Phuket, Thailand

ATV Tour to The Big Buddha

A more fun way to visit is The Big Buddha by ATV Tour while taking in the surrounding landscapes.

ATV Tour


Hiking to The Big Buddha in Phuket

You can hike to Phuket’s Big Buddha in about 1 hour from Karon Beach in scenic and lush surroundings.

The hike from Karon to Big Buddha in Phuket takes about 1 hour or 3km. And it can be pretty challenging on a hot, sunny day.

The Trail to Big Buddha from Karon Beach starts at Patak Soi 12.

If you feel more comfortable on an organized trip, you can join the Jungle Trekking to Big Buddha with Lunch trip.


How hard is the hike to Phuket’s Big Buddha?

For hiking to Big Buddha from Karon Beach, take proper shoes and plenty of water, and be prepared for a steep, muddy path during rainy periods.

The hike to the Big Buddha of Phuket can be challenging, with steep sections and uneven terrain. But the well-marked trail offers rest stops along the way.

Drone aerial view of the Big Buddha in Phuket, Thailand

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Is The Big Buddha in Phuket worth visiting?

The Big Buddha in Phuket is definitely worth a visit, as this iconic landmark offers stunning views of the island and provides an opportunity to learn about Buddhism and its history.

If you’re planning a trip to Phuket, it’s impossible to overlook Phuket’s Big Buddha. If you haven’t already, make sure to include it on your must-visit list. The 45-meter marble-crafted statue is truly impressive, and the panoramic views of the South of the island are an attraction on their own.

To have the best experience while avoiding crowds and heat, it’s best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

What is the dress code at the Big Buddha?

The dress code at Phuket’s Big Buddha is to dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees. The dress code is primarily enforced for women; men are allowed in with knee-length shorts.

If you end up at the Big Buddha without proper clothing, you can buy a sarong for 150 Thai Baht (4 USD) or a shawl for 100 Thai Baht (3 USD) at the entrance. So if you prepare in advance, you can save 250 Thai Baht.

Morning sunrise at Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand
Arijana wearing her trusty Sarong she bought 5 years earlier in Bali.

Where to eat at the Phuket Big Buddha

While there is no cafe or restaurant right at Phuket’s Big Buddha, you can enjoy a drink or local meal at places just a few minutes down the road:

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How long does it take to see the Phuket Big Buddha?

On average, you should count on spending about 1 hour seeing the Big Buddha in Phuket. It may take longer if you wish to explore the surrounding area or go for a drink or meal in the nearby cafes with a view.

Things to do near Big Buddha

How to get to Phuket

Phuket is easily reachable from all over the world with frequent direct flights from Europe, Australia, and other Asian destinations, as well as connected flights from the US and elsewhere through Bangkok. It’s really well-connected.

We recommend checking flight deals on Kiwi and booking your bus or train travel on 12go (the best booking site for trains, buses, transfers, ferries, and more).

From popular nearby southern Thai destinations like Krabi, Phi Phi Islands, and Koh Lanta, you can catch a speedboat or ferry to Phuket, which is often the fastest and most convenient.

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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Full-time travelers, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists.

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We're Arijana and Matej, a couple and travel blogging duo from Croatia and Slovenia who thrive while slow-traveling. And we have been doing it for over 4 years.

During and after our travels, we love publishing in-depth, researched and above-all, useful travel guides, full of personal first-hand information on the places we personally visited.

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