Posts Tagged ‘buddha’

 

Phuket’s Big Buddha is a must-visit destination. It is one of the island’s most important and revered landmarks. Both tourists and devout Buddhists flock this local landmark everyday. There are two major Buddha images up the hill – the bigger one is 45 meters high and 25 meters across the base.

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This place also serves as a museum narrating the history of the Big Buddha. Upon entering, we immediately saw a lot of Buddha images everywhere.

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Despite the huge number of visitors around, the complex is rather peaceful and the only noises you could hear are the tinkling of small bells in the wind and a soft background Dharma music. You could actually buy a bell and get your name engraved on it.

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Also scattered all over the place are numerous donation boxes – most of them are placed near the base of statues. It could be off-putting for some visitors but the construction of the Big Buddha monument relies solely on public donations.

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On the right is the second major Buddha image, it is 12 meters high and is made of 22 tons of brass. It looks quite regal but dwarfed by the white marble Buddha.

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The top of the hill offers a sweeping 360-degree view of the island. I could just imagine how serene it would be at the top during sunset.

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Before leaving, we offered some prayers (though we’re not practicing Buddhism). As per tradition in most temples, we got a string bracelet blessed by monks for luck and fortune.

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Phuthai Souvenir Markets and Handicrafts is the biggest souvenir store in Phuket. I read somewhere that the tour drivers may receive petrol coupons when they bring tourists to the store. This might just be true because there were a lot of tourists there when we dropped by.

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They have lots of novelty items for sale that are good as take home souvenirs or gifts to friends and family back home. Honestly, majority of the items are quite expensive so we mostly just browsed around, looking for cheap deals.

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For some reason, the store contained a lot of bags that are designed to look like owls. Maybe the Thais have a fascination for owls? LOL, I dunno…market3

I also did not get the toy snakes and the can opener. Are these signature Thai items? The photo album in the middle is actually pretty nice but very expensive so I did not buy it.market4These pens were far more affordable and actually made more sense than most of the random items all around. I walked out of the store with packs of pens that I gave away to office mates and friends when I got back from my vacation.

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If I had the extra money (and a beautiful house to hang them up on), I would have taken home one of these wood carvings. Maybe next time…

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As mentioned, most of the items in the store are expensive so it’s actually better to wait til you get to Bangkok for your pasalubong shopping. That is if you’re heading to Bangkok after which is exactly what we did. That being said, Phuthai Souvenir Markets is still worth the visit.

 

 

Chalong Temple or Wat Chalong is the largest and most visited Buddhist temple in Phuket.

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No one knows exactly when the Wat Chalong was first established, but the most recent building in its ground is a 60 meters tall ‘Chedi’ that houses a fragment of bone from the Lord Buddha. The tower has three levels with the first two filled with statues of the Buddha.

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At the very top of the tower is a glass enclosure that houses the bone splinter. It also has a large viewing deck which provides a view of the whole temple grounds.

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In addition to the Chedi, there are several other buildings including the main temple with statues of the revered monks where people can pray, light incense and candles, and even apply gold leaf to the statues.

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I just had to include this photo as it was my first time to see monks in person.

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As mentioned, Wat Chalong is the most revered temple in Phuket and a certain level of respect is expected. Shoes are never allowed in a temple and women are required to cover their shoulders and legs. I was wearing shorts and I was lucky enough to chance upon a very pretty skirt in a pile of cover-ups provided near the entrance.

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