Located in Karon, but only accessible from Chalong, the Big Buddha can be found at the top of the Nakkerd Hills. The attraction is hard to miss as it is a 45-meter-tall white marble statue that commands attention from most points in the southern part of the island. To be honest, the statue is massive.
Reaching the top of the very steep hill that leads to the Big Buddha is an expansive parking lot that opens to a small building. This small building often hosts Buddhist ceremonies, and functions as a living history museum of the Big Buddha.
Construction on the statue started in 2004, mostly from people’s donations, and as you walk through the building you will find details of the construction, the donations, and good photographs of people from various countries who have visited the attraction. The small building also sells a variety of local, organic Thai products and Buddhist amulets.
There is a set of wide stairs to follow to reach the top of the attraction where you can view the Big Buddha in its entirety. Next to the Big Buddha, there is a smaller golden Buddha that is made of brass, a variety of Ganesha statues, spirit houses, and Buddhist bells. Even though crowded with tourists most days, the atmosphere surrounding the Big Buddha is relatively peaceful and calm.
From the top of the hill where the Big Buddha is perched, there are some excellent views of Phuket and the large bays that comprise the landscape. Directly in front of the Big Buddha lies Chalong Bay. If you are lucky and the sky is clear, on a good day you can see all of the ways to Phang Nga Bay. To the west of this view is a small staircase that opens to a terrace, allowing gorgeous views of both Kata and Kata Noi beaches.
The steep, winding road that brings you to the Big Buddha is scattered with a variety of coffee shops, restaurants, and elephant camps. The coffee shops and restaurants are nice to stop at for a break, and also offer lovely views across the island. If you are unfamiliar with southern Phuket, the Big Buddha is not far from Wat Chalong. There are signs of the attraction virtually everywhere. The road to the Big Buddha is in decent condition, however, it is very steep and can be crowded; please drive carefully.
There is no entrance fee to the Big Buddha, but it should be noted to dress appropriately as the dress code is strictly enforced. It is best to cover your shoulders and also make sure that your knees are covered if you are a lady. Please be respectful of local customs and culture.
The Big Buddha Temple has become one of the island’s most beloved tourist attractions and is well worth a visit. It is considered a sacred site by Buddhists and is a place of pilgrimage and reflection.