It is always nice to learn about local history and traditions in the places we go, and like to do so with someone who knows what they’re talking about! ‘Phuket Lets Go’ had great reviews, and we knew when we met our tour guide Thai (probably not real name), we were in great hands!
He knew all the answers to the questions we asked him, was so knowledgable and we were able to see Phuket through a locals eyes. First we stopped at the most southern tip of Thailand.
Then it was time to visit the largest and most famous Buddhist temple of the island: Wat Chalong.
The main building has 3 stories and billions of Buddhas on each level. It also has great views from the top level, including a sneak preview of the Big Buddha on top of the hill nearby.
The most recent building on the grounds of Wat Chalong is a 60 meters tall ‘Chedi’ sheltering a splinter of bone from Buddha. It is cased in a little pot through a glass wall, and if you squint, you can just about make it out. Unfortunately, not on pictures.
Locals pay respects to several revered monks who were the founders of Wat Chalong, among them Luang Pho Cham and Luang Pho Chuang, 2 monks, who led the citizens of Chalong Sub district fighting against the Chinese rebellion in 1876, and with their knowledge of herbal medicine helped many of the injured people.
The Big Buddha marble sculpture was next, which stood proud on the hill, 100% funded by visitors. It was spectacular. Even if you’re not religious, this place feels special. Walking around, touching the marble, and understanding the work that went into this being build was great! And such great views!
It is also nice to see how some Monks save cows from being slaughtered, and display them here, where people can donate to.
Old Town Phuket, where we stayed originally.
We visited the oldest spice shop in Phuket, and it smelt wonderful!
Our guide was very knowledgeable on this area, and it was great to learn the history of this place. It was so different to other parts of Phuket. We saw a traditional old style house, which are super slim on entrance, because people are taxed on wideness, but go back really long, with many rooms. Back in the day, girls weren’t allowed out of their houses here until they were 15 years old, being home schooled, and living their lives within their family compound.
The final part of the day, the rum factory. The famous Chalong Bay rum distillery, where we were greeted with a delicious mojito, taken around the factory, and resisted the urge to buy copious amounts of rum!
Delicious rum and a game of Jenga!