When planning a trip to Phuket, it is inevitable that Phuket’s Big Buddha will make its way onto your must-visit list. If it hasn’t already – add it now. Not only is the impressive 45 meter marble-crafted statue a must-see, but the 360 degree views overlooking the South of the island is an attraction in itself.

Built in 2002 atop Nakkerd Hill, Chalong, the infamous Big Buddha is one of Phuket’s most cultural and religious symbols. Officially named as Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Eknakiri, or Ming Mongkol Buddha in Thai, the Big Buddha is a popular religious landmark for both Thai’s and tourists, with over 1,000 people visiting the impressive monument on a good day.

Here are 7 tips for visiting Big Buddha in Phuket:

1. When is the best time to visit the Big Buddha, Phuket?

The Big Buddha, Phuket, is opened from 6am – 7.30pm daily, meaning it is accessible during both sunrise and sunset time. Opening times may vary during public holidays.
If you would prefer visiting this beautiful location when it is less crowded, sunrise is an idyllic and peaceful time to visit. We would recommend arriving no later than 6.15am to catch the majestic glow of the sun rising from the Big Buddha.

If you are not a morning person – do not worry! The Big Buddha is just as stunning throughout the day.

2. What should I wear when visiting the Big Buddha, Phuket?

Although the Big Buddha is one of Phuket’s most popular tourist destinations, it is still important to remember that the Buddha itself is an active temple in which monks are present. For that reason, it is a must to dress modestly – covered shoulders, no beach wear, and knees covered.

On entry, your clothing attire will be examined and if you are not covered appropriately, you will be provided with a free sarong and/or shawl to borrow for the duration of your visit.

3. How can I get to the Big Buddha?

By road:

The roads to the Big Buddha are well maintained, with many tourists choosing to drive there.

If you decide to drive, whether that is by car or by scooter; it is essential to have an idea of the distance from where you are staying on the island to where the Big Buddha is located:

Patong to Big Buddha Phuket: 23km
Phuket Town to Big Buddha Phuket: 17km
Nai Harn to Big Buddha Phuket: 15km
Rawai to Big Buddha Phuket: 10km
Kata to Big Buddha Phuket: 13km

Your hotel concierge would also be able to assist you when organizing transfers, so do not hesitate to ask for assistance.

Tip: the cheapest way to get to the Big Buddha is by renting a scooter - at around 200THB per day.

By walking:

There are also two potential trails leading up to the Big Buddha.

The first option is to walk up the main road leading to the Big Buddha Phuket, beginning at Chaofah Road, Chalong. You will quickly notice that many, particularly those training for Muay Thai around the area, opt to run this route for training and to challenge themselves. This route is longer than the hillside route, but you will be rewarded with exceptional views and also an opportunity to check out some scenic restaurants along the 5.7km road.

Alternatively, you could opt to take the relatively easy hillside route, beginning opposite Baan Karon Resort, on Patak Road, Karon Beach. The climb is approximately 2.5km, according to Google Maps, as you follow along a peaceful dirt-road which allows for incredible views over-looking the beaches of the South of Phuket. Regardless, be sure to wear sensible foot-wear.

4. Parking at Big Buddha

Having visited the Big Buddha in both a scooter and a car, we’ve never experienced any issues with finding parking! There is a car park on site. If you’re concerned about parking, we’d recommend avoiding busier times, particularly sunset, and go earlier in the day to ensure this isn’t an issue.

5. Cost

It is totally free to visit the Big Buddha, however, we would recommend making a small contribution to their donation box as a kind gesture, as the Big Buddha Phuket was built entirely from donations.

6. About the Temple

The Big Buddha Phuket is in fact an active temple, meaning you will often hear services and melodic chanting coming from the Big Buddha itself. Be aware of your surroundings, be respectful and do not cause disruptions during your visit.

At quieter times it is also possible to get blessed by one of the many monks at the temple. If you get the opportunity to be blessed by a monk, remember to be courteous and treat them with respect, deliver a Wai (a traditional Thai greeting) to them, and if you are a woman in particular, do not touch them as it is highly inappropriate in Thai culture.

Remember to remove shoes before entering the Big Buddha, a courtesy in Thai culture when entering any active temples. And do not point your feet towards Big Buddha as it is regarded as highly offensive. The feet are viewed as the dirtiest and lowest point of the body, so the soles in particular should never be pointed at anyone, especially a Buddha, a sacred symbol in Thai culture.

7. Where To Eat

There are often food / beverage vendors around the car park before the entrance, however, we would recommend stopping at one of the panoramic sea-view restaurants on the journey up Nakkerd Hill itself. You can’t miss them. Stop by for a bite to eat and a view that will take your breath away.

Finally, on the topic of food – do NOT feed the monkeys around the Big Buddha. The groundskeepers work very hard to deter the monkeys and keep them away from visitors. It is best to not interact with them.

With these 7 tips for visiting the Big Buddha Phuket, you will be more than prepared. There is a reason that the Big Buddha Phuket is such a popular tourist attraction - it is sure to leave you feeling both inspired and in awe!

In addition, guests who are staying at Club Med Phuket will find that some of these top things to do are offered either as activities or excursions that you can join as part of your accommodation package. Come join us for a luxury resort escape in Phuket and enjoy the many fun-filled activities we have curated for you here.

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