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The Big Buddha

It’s been raining in Phuket since day one for me and the moment the sun got to peek from the clouds, I was out of the house. This is the biggest island in Thailand and to explore it, you need a car or a motorbike and a local to show you the best spots to see, the touristy and the non-touristy as well.

I haven’t hear of the Big Buddha until I set foot in the island. To be honest, I don’t know anything about Phuket at all except from the stories my friends have told me, and those revolves around one particular area, Patong. Surprisingly, the island is not all about this spot.

Known as the big hill, Phuket offers postcard perfect vistas from its highest points, one of which is at the Southern part of Phuket town at Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata. Panoramic views of the both sides of the islands can be seen from this point- the Chalong Bay in one and Kata and the Andaman Sea on the other.

It has become one of the popular tourist destinations not only for its stunning vistas but also because of what sits on it—the Big Buddha.

Facing East towards the bay, the Big Buddha— Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakiri or Ming Mongkol Buddha, is a 45-meter high and 25-meter wide structure covered with white Burmese marble devoted to King Bhumibol. Beside it is a smaller image—12-meter high, made of brass devoted to Queen Sirikit.

The Big Buddha is one ambitious project funded only by donations and the completion of the temple is uncertain. From the looks of it, once the undertaking is completed, it will rival the beaches of the province on the top of the tourist must-see list.

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Published in Sun.Star newspaper on January 17, 2013.