Big Buddha in Phuket

Phuket is quite a hilly island with several prominent viewpoints. If you aren’t sure which ones to go to on your trip, we’d suggest you start out at the top of Nakerd Mountain, which houses one of Phuket’s most famous attractions, the Big Buddha

In addition to photo ops with one of Phuket’s must-see sights, you also get panoramic views of three bays, and the chance to make merit for some clarity.

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Big Buddha’s 360 views of three bays

The Big Buddha is officially named Phraphutthamingmongkhol-akenagakhiri Buddha, which translates to “Happiness on Top of Nakerd Mountain” in Thai. It’s a 45 M tall statue that was built in 2008.

At the top of this majestic landmark, you get a 360° degree view of the island, including major bays like Karon Bay, Chalong Bay, and Nai Harn Bay.

big-buddha-phuketImage credit: @big_buddha_phuket_official

You can even catch a glimpses of what’s going on atop other hills: camouflaged navy camps, old-style huts and even tiny villages closer to the islets at the bottom.

big-buddha-phuketImage credit: @byroberteklund

On rainy days, mist surrounds the hilltop, giving visitors an almost-otherworldly and mystical experience. 

big-buddha-phuketImage credit: @exotic_thailand_travel

The viewpoint is also an example of Thailand’s architecture and sound engineering. TBH we’re wondering how such a large statue, temple and paved roads were built – and stabilised – on such a steep setting. 

Big Buddha is a place of worship 

The Big Buddha was created with the help of local donations. Visitors can continue the tradition and donate funds for the upkeep of the site and surrounding areas. 

Image credit: @big_buddha_phuket_official

For those looking for an immersive Buddhist experience but don’t have the time to attend a formal ceremony, then making donations is perfect for you. 

Sharing your wealth with others through donations has the karmic equivalent of joining a merit making ceremony. Both of those abide by the Buddhist principles of living within your means and showing compassion to others. 

big-buddha-phuketImage credit: @arashotz

At the Big Buddha, you’ll find different buddha statues holding alms bowls with coins inside. The alms bowl is one of the most significant objects for monks, because they’re used to collect money and food from supporters. 

According to legends, the Buddha received rice from a young woman with a golden bowl. Now committed monks use these when going out for alms.

big-buddha-phuketSometimes, you may see monks holding silver or bronze coloured bowls instead of a golden one.
Image credit: Stories and objects

Moreover, there are many statues of the Buddha in different poses that depict different times of his life. For sure you’ll spot one of the most iconic ones, which is the lying buddha. 

To many Buddhist, this posture symbolises the state of reaching Nirvana, according to Burmese Art. This pose is also said to be how the Buddha passed away – peacefully relaxing on his right elbow. 

big-buddha-phuketImage credit: Prowd Issarasena

Big Buddha’s easy hiking trail

The Big Buddha at the top of Nakerd Mountain is easily accessible by car. Although, adventure lovers will be happy to hear that it is entirely possible to hike up to the site.

big-buddha-phuketImage credit: @soul_travel_fitness

Better yet, the hike is relatively short – around 8 KM – with designated signs to keep you from getting lost. 

big-buddha-phuketImage credit: Prowd Issarasena

So, you don’t necessarily need to be a frequent hiker or cardiovascular exercise enthusiast to trek up to the Big Buddha. 

big-buddha-phuketImage credit: @travaleeza

However, we’d suggest avoiding the trail during the rainy season as the paths can get extra slippery. 

big-buddha-phuketImage credit: @shaheen.haroon

Along the way you’ll see local houses and some naturally occurring flora, like coffee beans. 

Of course, given the mountain’s location in the middle of Phuket’s three major bays, trekkers can expect to see uninterrupted seascape views as motivation to trudge on. 

If you want to avoid the heat, it’s best to start your hike as early as 8AM – it can get very sunny between 10AM and 11AM.

Bookmark the Big Buddha for your next trip

Phuket’s Big Buddha is worth seeing for several different reasons. For starters, the beautiful viewpoint is a Buddhist place of worship and there’s a scenic hike perfect for adventurers. 

With the Phuket “Sandbox” confirmed, you can bookmark the Big Buddha as one of your places to check out when planning for an outdoorsy day trip. 

Big Buddha Phuket
Address: Nakerd Hill, Karon, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83100
Opening Hours: 8AM-6PM, Daily
Telephone: +66-8-1891-3827

Big Buddha Website | Google Maps

Cover images adapted from: (Left), @thailand (Centre), @warm_heart1924 (Right)

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