Phuket is crowded with numerous shrines and temples. The Buddhist temples are called wat and the best known on the island is Chaitararam which is popularly called Wat Chalong. Located in the south center portion of Phuket, a statue of Phrakrukvisutthiwongsachanyannamuni (Abbot Cham) is enshrined here. This former abbot helped the local Phuketians against the Chinese secret society known as the Ung Yi during an uprising in 1876. Well-regarded for his bravery and medical skills, he is highly respected in Phuket and neighboring provinces. Along with Cham, Wat Chalong also features statues of the later abbots Kluem and Chuang. The main chapel houses the principal Buddha image, Por Ta Ki Lek, and a three-story pagoda known as Phra Maha Chedi. The pagoda was completed in 2000 as a tribute to the 72nd birthday celebration of HM the King and includes a number of sacred items including a holy relic of the Buddha presented as a gift from Sri Lanka.
I used to live on the road just to the north of Wat Chalong and enjoyed visiting as often as I could. It is very popular with foreign tourist groups as well as the local people. My favorite time to visit is during it’s annual fair, held early each year around the time of the Chinese New Year festivities.