Towering at 45 metres above the Phuket coastline, Big Buddha is a national landmark that is one of Thailand's most visited tourist attractions. Offering 360-degree views of Phuket and its surrounding islands, Big Buddha provides some of the best views in Thailand. Built in 2004 after the disastrous tsunami, the statue was built as a symbol of hope for the future. Big Buddha is known among the Thai people as the Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha and is a deeply religious site among locals that is also used as a temple with monks. Made of reinforced concrete and Burmese white jade marble that is inscribed with messages of hope and love, the statue sparkles brightly in the sun.
The site is also home to a smaller Buddha statue that is 12 metres tall and made of brass. It is dedicated to the Queen of Thailand, whereas Big Buddha is dedicated to the King. Known as a place of worship, on your way down from the attraction you will see praying monks and hear dharma music and chiming bells that all add to the spiritual ambiance of the site.
While visiting Big Buddha is completely free, the funds for the construction and maintenance of Big Buddha are entirely derived from the donations left by tourists. During your visit, you can choose to purchase a gold leaf offering, to write on and hang around the site for good luck, or simply leave a contribution in the donation box.
As the Big Buddha is a spiritual site, it is recommended to wear respectful clothing covering the knees and shoulders. If you feel you have dressed inappropriately, there are sarongs available for hire from the site centre.
Big Buddha is located atop of the Nakkerd Hills, between Kata and Chalong. The easiest way to get to Big Buddha from Phuket town is by tuk tuk. The journey should take roughly half an hour and there are plenty of amazing sites and viewpoints along the way. Alternatively, you can hike 5.6km through the lush jungle and experience the amazing scenery. The Big Buddha is also home to a delicious seafood restaurant - the Nakkerd Sea View Restaurant, which offers amazing cuisine and spectacular views over Phuket.