Wat Chalong or Chaithararam Temple - Buddhist temples are one of the most important symbols of Thailand, because of most Thai civilians are Buddhist and these buildings are historically significant.
In Phuket, there are totally 29 Buddhist temples spread around the island. However, Wat Chalong remains the most famous one.
Wat Chalong has been extending a warm welcome to visitors for over years. Locals come here to pray and most of the Westerners come to learn about the core culture of Buddhism. The temple is open from 7 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. Chalong temple is certainly a worthwhile stop off point and is also on the route of many tours. Wat Chalong Temple is the most revered for the sacred relic which is kept here under a fragment of a bone of the Buddha. The relic named Phra Borom Sareerikatat is kept carefully inside a glass case on top of the 60 - meter high Phra Mahathat Chedi. It was installed in the chedi by King Maha Vajiralongkorn and was brought over from Sri Lanka. The walls of the chedi contain mural paintings depicting scenes from the Jataka, and these are the tales about the previous lives of the Buddha. A large number of Buddha images is also kept inside the three story chedis. Poh Than Jao Wat is regarded as one of the most important Buddhist statues in Wat Chalong. It is situated in the westerly old hall of the temple with two statues of an elderly gentleman called Ta Khee-lek (or grandpa Khee-lek). He was a famous local who won many lotteries after consulting the Poh Than Jao Wat statue. Visitors also want to see another statue in this hall - Nonsi. One of the temple's halls features Luang Poh Cham ‘s gilt-covered statue. Moreover, this busy hall contains statues of Luang Poh Gleum and Luang Poh Chuang, all ex-abbots of the temple as well.
The interior of Wat Chalong
The Grand Pagoda dominating the temple covers a splinter of Lord Buddha's bone. This Pagoda is officially named Phramahathatchedi - Jomthaibarameepragat. The construction is decorated with wall paintings depicting the Buddha's life story as well as featuring various Buddha images. Spend your time in the pagoda; it is a cool, breezy location and is very popular with visitors to the temple. On the other hand, there is an air - conditioned 'exhibition home' of Luang Poh Cham that features lifelike human - sized wax models of Luang Poh Chuang, Luang Poh Cham, Luang Pu Thuad and Luang Poh Gleum along with Thai furniture or Benjarong - Thai porcelain designed in five colours. Meanwhile, the famous 'magic' walking – stick of Luang Poh Cham is kept at the current Abbot's dwelling. In general, Do's and Don'ts Wats are sacred places for local people, so it is wise for the visitor to watch and emulate the way Thais behave inside temples. For instance, you may see that most people are careful not to stand over, or otherwise position themselves higher than any Buddha images except when pasting gold leaf to them - which in some cases happens only in some wats, not in most. It is inappropriate to go into a wat - a place of worship - wearing clothes that reveal one's shoulders; belly, chest or legs even through Thailand can sometimes be very hot. You will be asked to take your shoes off when entering some of the buildings, including the sermon hall and the chedi. It is best not to wear your most expensive shoes when visiting WATS in case someone else mistakenly walks away with them - literally! If that happens, and they are not your favorite shoes, then you will not be too upset.
Wat Chalong is located about 8 km South of Phuket City. Travel along Chao Fah Nok Road (Chao Fa West Road) from the Central Festival mall and you will see the temple on the left side of the road. Or if you are coming from Chalong Circle, take the same road heading towards town, then you will see the temple on your right. You can easily get the temple by taxi or tuk - tuk or you can ask half or one - day city tour from tour desk at your hotel which almost include Wat Chalong in the promgram.
To visit this temple, you do not need to pay any cost but donations for the maintenance of the temple complex are appreciated. Be noticed that Wat Chalong is open daily from 7 am until 5 pm. Best day to visit is on weekdays. On Thai public holidays and weekends the grounds can get very busy. Every round around Chinese New Year (at the end of January) the Wat Chalong Festival is held over a period of 8 days, during which it can get pretty crowded.