Imagine standing at the base of a monumental statue, so vast and serene it seems to capture the very essence of tranquility and wisdom.
This is no ordinary sightseeing spot; this is the Big Buddha Phuket, the iconic white statue on the beautiful island of Phuket in Thailand.
I have visited several Buddha statues across Asia, and Big Buddha Phuket is one of those places where you can truly feel the tranquility of the surroundings and even meditate inside the temple.
In this guide, I will cover the dress code, entrance fee, and other important tips you need to know before visiting the Big Buddha in Phuket.
I will also compare the different ways to get there, including driving, hiking, or even using an ATV.
Lastly, I will share how you can truly experience Big Buddha Phuket by meditating inside or experiencing the serenity across its stunning sunset spots!
Big Buddha Phuket History
The Big Buddha statue in Phuket, officially known as Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakakiri or simply Ming Mongkol Buddha, translates to “the gloriously honorable Buddha on the top of the hill of Naga”.
It was built in 2004 as a symbol of hope, spirituality, and shared values for the people.
The statue is 45 meters tall and spans 25 meters at the base, and it was built entirely with donations from locals and foreigners.
You can contribute to its ongoing construction and maintenance by making donations at the nearby boxes or purchasing a marble tile with suggested donations starting at 100 baht.
Big Buddha Phuket Entrance Fee
You can visit Big Buddha Phuket for free. You can freely enter the temple and the Big Buddha statue without purchasing tickets. The site is open to all visitors who are interested in exploring its cultural and religious importance.
The temple and the surrounding grounds are properly maintained through donations. While admission is free, it is highly appreciated when visitors make a small contribution towards the maintenance and upkeep of the site.
Big Buddha Phuket Parking
We visited the Big Buddha with our scooter and there is enough parking for both cars and scooters near the base of the statue.
The parking space is also free; a guard will point you to a spot to park. Unless you are visiting at a hectic time, expect a well-organized parking area and a hassle-free start to your visit.
Big Buddha Phuket Opening Hours and Timings
The Big Buddha Phuket is open from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily. Opening times may change during public holidays.
Best time to go to Big Buddha Phuket
The best times to visit the Big Buddha in Phuket are early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
In the morning, before 6:15 AM, you can witness a breathtaking sunrise or meditate with fewer tourists around. Not a morning person? Visit before 6:00 PM and enjoy stunning sunset views.
It’s best to avoid visiting around noon when the sun is at its peak and the heat can be unbearable.
Big Buddha Phuket Dress Code
When planning a visit to Big Buddha Phuket, it is crucial to dress respectfully as it is a religious site, and cultural norms must be observed. Here is a guide on what to wear:
Dress code: Men and women should wear clothing that covers their shoulders, arms, and knees and loose-fitting.
- Dress Code for females: No tank top, cropped, see-through clothes, mini-skirts, and shorts. If you’re wearing any of this, you have to use a scarf to wear over it and a shawl to cover the waist.
- Dress Code for males: Not wearing a shirt is not allowed.
Footwear: It is necessary to remove shoes before entering the temple. Wear easily removable footwear, such as sandals or flip-flops, that are also sturdy and comfortable enough for the climb and steps, especially if you’re doing the hike to get there.
Hats and Sunglasses: Wearing a hat and sunglasses can help protect you from the sun. Definition, one of the must-haves clothing in Thailand. However, it is customary to remove them when entering temple buildings.
Carry a Scarf: If you are not wearing clothing that covers your shoulders or knees, carry a scarf or shawl that you can use as a cover when needed. Free shawls are available at the entrance.
No Swimwear: In temple areas, wearing swimwear or revealing clothing is disrespectful. If you come from a nearby beach, change into appropriate attire for your temple visit.
Avoid Heavy Perfumes: Go easy on strong perfumes to ensure a peaceful visit for everyone. While it is not mandatory, it is a consideration to avoid distracting others with strong fragrances. Remember the time when all you could focus on was the strong scent you smelled?
Where is Big Buddha Phuket Located?
The Big Buddha in Phuket sits on the top of Nakkerd Hill between Chalong and Kata. This elevated location not only provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for the statue but also offers panoramic views of the island.
If you stay in Kata and Chalong, you’ll see this giant figure that stands as a symbol of spirituality and scenic beauty.
Big Buddha Phuket: How to Get There
There are plenty of ways to get to the Big Buddha. The roads to the statue are well-maintained and paved so you can expect a smooth drive depending on where you are coming from.
Driving via car or motorbike
We drove to the Big Buddha on a motorbike and found the site easy to navigate using signposts and Google Maps. There’s ample parking space available for both cars and scooters near the entrance.
PRO TIP: Renting a scooter is the cheapest way to get to the Big Buddha, at around 200THB ($5.6) per day. However, you’ll need to drive uphill for a long time, so make sure you’re confident in your driving abilities.
By Taxi, Tuk-Tuk, or Grab/Bolt
If you’re not confident driving, consider taking a taxi, tuk-tuk, or booking with Grab or Bolt. Make sure to negotiate and agree on the fare beforehand to avoid any surprises. Drivers are generally familiar with the destination and can provide insights during the journey.
PRO TIP: Book your ride to your accommodation before it gets dark because most taxi and tuk-tuk drivers would be hesitant to accept a booking going to the top of the hill at night.
Phuket’s local buses and songthaews (converted pick-up trucks serving as shared taxis) can also get you relatively close to the Big Buddha, although they’re more challenging to navigate.
From Phuket Town, take the bus to Karon and alight at the turning to the Chalong Chalet Resort & Longstay before you reach Kata Beach. From there, it takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes to walk 5.2 km to the statue.
If you’re only in Phuket for a few days, consider joining a guided tour that includes the Big Buddha along with other attractions in Phuket. Joining a tour can help you divide the transportation cost and maximize the places you can visit in a short time.
Plus, learning more about history and culture from your knowledgeable guides is fun and meaningful. Who knows, you might also find cool new friends on these tours.
Here are some of the best Big Buddha Phuket tours:
- ATV Tour to Big Buddha Phuket
- Big Buddha Jungle Trekking Half-Day Tour
- Cheapest Big Buddha and City Tour
🤩 Get 5% off on these Big Buddha Tours with code “GLADISTRAVELS”
If you’re up for adventure and want to earn those breathtaking views, it’s also possible to hike to the Big Buddha in Phuket.
There are two trails leading up to the statue. The first and longer trail is from the main road of Chaofah Road, Chalong, which offers exceptional views and an opportunity to visit some scenic restaurants. This route is around 9 km long and takes around 2 and a half hours to complete.
Alternatively, you could take the hillside route, starting opposite Baan Karon Resort, on Patak Road, Karon Beach. The climb is approximately 2.5 km and takes about an hour with rest breaks. It’s a moderately challenging hike, with one short and steep section that’s slippery and requires the use of ropes.
Both trails can be taken going up and down.
PRO TIP: whichever route you choose, make sure you’re well-prepared with adequate water, sun protection, and suitable footwear (at least running shoes with good grip), and try to start early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the midday heat.
Big Buddha Phuket Hike Map
Want to hike with a group? Join this Big Buddha Phuket hike tour.
ATV to Big Buddha
A unique way to reach the Big Buddha is via ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle). Perfect for those looking for a bit of thrill while exploring the island.
Tours include a short course on safety briefings and equipment, making it a fun and secure experience for all skill levels. Just remember to book with a reputable tour operator like this one to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
How many steps are there in the Big Buddha?
There are 94 steps to climb up to the Big Buddha in Phuket, and you cannot go down these stairs.
On the way down, you’ll see boxes for donations for the construction, where you can buy amulets, and where monks hold ceremonies. Then you’ll see the viewing point for – Phuket town, three bays (Phuket Town, Kata, Karon, Chalong Bay), and some islands.
Best Things to Do at Big Buddha Phuket
Visiting the Big Buddha Phuket offers an opportunity to dive deeper into spirituality or enjoy the 360-degree views of the island. Here are some of the best things to do:
- Explore the Big Buddha Statue: This Burmese white marble statue is not only a spiritual landmark but also an architectural marvel. I was in awe looking at it from afar on our motorbike, up to the time we saw it up close.
- Enjoy the Panoramic Views: The site provides breathtaking views of Phuket and the Andaman Sea. It’s a perfect spot for photography, enjoying stunning sunsets, and slowing down to take in the beauty of Phuket.
- Visit the Smaller Buddha Statues: Surrounding the main Big Buddha are several smaller statues, each with its own significance, offering a quieter space for reflection and admiration.
- Participate in a Meditation Session: Inside the temple, you’ll see tarpaulins with printed sayings about meditation from famous personalities like Carl Jung and Albert Einstein. There’s also a guide for a 7-minute happy meditation, which I highly encourage you to try!
- Learn About the History and Construction: Around the site, you’ll also find details about the history of the Big Buddha, its construction, and its importance to the local community. Learning more about the history of a place helps us appreciate it even more.
- Make a Donation for Good Luck: At the exit of the temple, you’ll see donation boxes. Contributing to the maintenance and ongoing development of the site through a donation is believed to bring good luck, in addition to supporting this important cultural landmark.
- Shop for Souvenirs: Small shops and stalls near the entrance sell a variety of souvenirs, from handcrafted items to religious artifacts, allowing you to take a piece of your experience home.
Restaurants near Big Buddha Phuket
There are some small food and drink vendors located in the car park before the entrance. However, we recommend instead that you stop by the sea-view restaurants below for breathtaking views. All are within 8 minutes away on the way to Nakkerd Hill.
Very important: Please refrain from feeding the monkeys around the Big Buddha. The groundkeepers work hard to keep the monkeys away from visitors, so it’s best not to interact with them.
- Authentic Thai Food: This traditional Thai restaurant has received an impressive 5-star rating 86 times and counting! The owner, Madam Nong, prepares homemade authentic Thai food with fresh local ingredients and time-honored recipes, filled with love. If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Thailand and food made with love, this is the place to go.
- Star Mountain Sunset Restaurant: Famous for its breathtaking views, Star Mountain Sunset Restaurant offers diners a picturesque backdrop to enjoy a diverse menu of local and international dishes.
- Big Buddha Art Cafe & Restaurant: This small and cozy restaurant and cafe features artistic surroundings and serves a variety of delicious Thai and international cuisine. Please note that some of their juices are not freshly squeezed, but their Thai Tea Espresso is to die for!
- The Dreaming Tree Phuket: If you’re looking for a peaceful dining atmosphere, The Dreaming Tree Phuket is the place to go. It’s known for its health-conscious menu, vegetarian and vegan options, and uncomplicated, delicious, and nutritious food, all cooked with love.
- Our Cafe Our Cafe is a charming spot where you can relax on bean bags after you visit Big Buddha Phuket. It offers a delightful selection of coffee, light bites, and smoothies, with a view of the lush surroundings of Phuket, Thailand.
Things to Do Near Big Buddha Phuket
After visiting Big Buddha Phuket, there are plenty of other attractions and activities to explore throughout the day. Here are some excellent options to consider:
- Wat Chalong: Phuket’s most important Buddhist temple, Wat Chalong is a must-visit destination for those who love intricate art, grand pagodas, and a serene atmosphere that reflects Thailand’s spiritual heritage.
- Promthep Cape: This natural wonder is known for offering some of the most breathtaking sunsets on the island, where the sky and sea meet in a spectacular display of colors. We visited this place after Big Buddha and were truly amazed by the stunning views.
- Phuket Old Town: With its colorful Sino-Portuguese buildings, Phuket Old Town is a vibrant hub of culture, history, and delicious local food, offering a glimpse into the island’s rich heritage.
- Karon Viewpoint: Often referred to as the Three Beaches Hill, Karon Viewpoint offers stunning panoramic views of Kata Noi, Kata Yai, and Karon beaches. It is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and photographers alike.
- Nai Harn Beach: This secret beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and soft white sand, making it an ideal destination for swimming and sunbathing.
Read next: The most beautiful beaches in Phuket
Where to Stay in Phuket
Looking for the best hotels, condominiums, and resorts in Phuket? Here are some of the best options available:
Karon Beach Condo: This is where we stayed for a month in Phuket. Located near Karon Beach, this condo offers a comfortable and convenient stay with modern amenities such as spacious rooms, a gym, and an outdoor swimming pool.
We love its proximity to the beach, Thai restaurants, and the homey feeling it provides for remote work and fitness.
Lady Naya Villas: This boutique villa resort is perfect for couples and families who want to stay in a peaceful setting. Lady Naya Villas offers private pools, modern Thai decor, and attentive service, providing an intimate atmosphere for a relaxing stay.
Stay Wellbeing & Lifestyle Resort: If you’re looking for a world-class wellness and luxury experience, Stay Wellbeing & Lifestyle Resort is the perfect option.
This resort emphasizes holistic well-being, offering guests a range of health-focused amenities, including fitness classes, wellness programs, and nutritious dining options.
🤩 Stay in the BEST hotels in Phuket – take 5% off with code “GLADISTRAVELS”
FAQs: The Big Buddha Phuket
Can you wear slippers to Big Buddha Phuket?
Slippers are generally acceptable, especially for the stair climb, as it is customary to remove your shoes before entering any active temple. And remember to not point your feet towards the Big Buddha as it is considered highly offensive.
Also note that you need to be prepared for a good amount of walking and stair climbing, so comfortable and sturdy footwear is recommended.
Are There Toilets at Big Buddha Phuket?
Yes, there are toilet facilities available at Big Buddha Phuket. There is one toilet at the top with Big Buddha and another one on your way out at the souvenir shop. However, please note that you need to bring your own toilet paper.
What should I bring to Big Buddha?
Bring comfortable walking shoes, a hat or sunscreen for protection against the sun, modest clothing that covers shoulders and knees to adhere to the dress code, and a camera to capture the stunning views.
How long do you need at Big Buddha Phuket?
You need 1-2 hours for your visit to Big Buddha Phuket. This gives you enough time to explore the statue, enjoy the panoramic views, meditate, and soak in the serene atmosphere of the site.
Where is the biggest Buddha in Thailand?
The tallest Buddha statue in Thailand is the Great Buddha of Thailand, also known as the Wat Muang Buddha, located in Ang Thong Province. This statue stands 92 meters (approximately 300 feet) in height and 63 meters (about 210 feet) in width.
However, it can be quite challenging to get to the statue using public transportation. As a result, the Big Buddha Phuket, the third tallest statue in Thailand after the Great Buddha of Thailand and Luangpho Ya, is more popular and frequently visited because it is more easily accessible.
Is Big Buddha Phuket worth visiting?
Absolutely! The Big Buddha is a must-visit landmark in Phuket, offering not only cultural and spiritual insights but also panoramic views of the island. Whether you’re interested in local culture and Buddhism or simply seeking breathtaking views, the Big Buddha is an excellent destination.
Personally, I love the idea that we were able to meditate inside the temple. It has guides to follow and the temple is quiet and not crowded. The temple also features signs where famous people narrate their meditation experience and its effects on them.
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Visiting the Big Buddha in Phuket was a truly enriching experience. It is a great opportunity to immerse oneself in Thai culture, witness breathtaking views, and find peace within the serene surroundings. What aspect of the Big Buddha inspires you to visit it?
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