There are lots of different kind of travellers out there – those travelling on a budget, or travelling by private jet – First class, business class or economy. Then there’s the backpackers, some who choose to work and travel simultaneously, young travellers, retired folk with an empty nest finally getting to see the world, people who have given up everything they own to truly find themselves through travelling, and the guy who packs a little suitcase and travels across continents just to sleep late, miss breakfast and sit by the poolside and relax (my husband).
And then you get the type of traveller who packs half their wardrobe, some make up and medicine, 5 pairs of shoes but only wears one, gym clothes that never makes it out of the suitcase, jackets…just in case…even though their destination is the desert. Camera. Back up camera. They research their destination from six months prior to leaving in order to familiarise themselves with all the must see locations at said destination. Who is up at the crack of dawn in order to get an early start and cover as much ground as possible, and also annoyingly cheerful and overly enthusiastic about EVERYTHING.(In case it wasn’t already obvious, this last paragraph was totally a description of me…give or take – I may have intentionally left out a few extras).
What I’m trying to say, is that everyone has a different idea and goal when it comes to travelling. For my husband; it is a time to unwind, relax and retreat from the stresses of work. For me, it is to immerse myself into the life, culture and history of the country I am visiting. So when we plan our vacations, there’s often a compromise to be made, and we have to make sure that everyone gets the experience they are looking for.
I mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again, that had it not been for the tour company’s incessant calls; we may never have left the hotel and we would’ve missed the best parts of Thailand! Lucky for us, we didn’t; and our first proper excursion out of the hotel grounds was on day 3…after 2 days of sleeping late, missing breakfast and lounging by the pool 😉 We hired a vehicle; which turned out to be a very spacious mini van, with much needed air-conditioning, complimentary bottles of water and a tour guide. Surprisingly, it is cheaper to hire a vehicle of this sort for an entire day than it is to commute in the famous Thai Tuktuks!!
Originally we were just planning to go shopping, but since we had the help of a proper tour guide, we made our way to the most popular sights of the Island instead, the first of which was Chalong Temple.
You cannot visit Thailand and not visit one of their temples. It’s like coming all the way to Cape Town and not going to see the iconic Table Mountain!
Buddhist temples are one of the most important and revered symbols of Thailand; partly because the majority of Thais are Buddhists, and partly because they are breathtakingly beautiful! In Phuket alone there are about 29 Buddhist temples; the biggest and most popular among tourists being Chalong Temple.
Inside, you can feast your eyes on elaborate artwork and paintings that adorn the walls and ceilings illustrating the life of Buddha, and the hallways are lined with several golden, life sized statues. The temple is quite busy during the day; filled with locals and travellers alike who have come either to pray, pay their respects, or learn something interesting about Buddhism.
Chalong Temple is a massive place made up of the main temple, as well as several smaller, equally beautiful buildings surrounding the main temple. It’s made up of three floors, each housing interesting sculptures and artefacts.
On the very top floor you will be able to get a birds eye view of the entire place. The view from the top is pretty amazing and also a great photo opportunity…provided you don’t mind the scorching heat or burning your feet on the hot floors! Some areas were a bit more populated with tourists than other, but the were several quieter spots where you could just enjoy your surroundings and soak it all in.
The ornate and intricate architecture is definitely a feast for the eyes!
|Not a bad pic courtesy of the Instagram husband! Redeemed himself after the Dubai desert disaster|
|My feet were burning like crazy…but I was determined to get a cute pic!|
You need a good couple of hours to explore the place fully, but we only visited the main temple since we still wanted to cover other tourist places for the day. Outside of the temple, but still part of temple grounds, the road is lined with a market place selling food, drinks and trinkets…and lots of fresh coconuts!!
Things to remember when visiting Buddhist Temples
Dress modestly. For women, this means shoulders must be covered and nothing above the knee; and men are supposed to wear long pants and nothing sleeveless. They did allow the men in with short though.
Take your shoes off before entering the temple.
Best times to go is early morning (if you are into waking up early) or late afternoon. It’s not as hot and also not as busy.
Take a good camera. I didn’t on this particular day and regretted it! Pictures turned out ok I think.
And that’s it! Our time at Chalong Temple 🙂 Ending this post off with this gem of a family pic. Can you tell that I’m the only one into this whole tourist experience and excited to take pictures!? Haha
Thanks for reading!