Having worked within walking distance of Karon Temple for several years (2001-2004), I would have looked at it sooner, but that was before this blog started in 2006! Phuket is packed with temples, although many visitors here don’t bother.
Finally, if you’ve stopped in Bangkok, you’ve probably already “done” temples, but Phuket has some notable historic temples. Each community have its own temple and each temple has something different, but what they all have in common is a certain calmness. One day in December 2007, I took a stroll through Karon Temple for the first time and have been there several times since then.
Wat Suwan Khiri Khet, Phuket Overview
Wat Suwan Khiri Khet, also known as Karon Temple, is a stunning and colourful shrine on Patak Road in Phuket, Thailand. The temple has beautiful interior paintings depicting the life of the Buddha. In addition, the temple also has two giant snakes at the entrance and other figures in different areas. The monks who live here or visit the temple are often seen meditating, making this an ideal spot for meditation and contemplation. Colourfully decorated, Wat Suwan Khiri Khet Temple houses 17 Buddha statues in the excellent sermon hall and three figures in the ordinance hall.
Covering 12,000 square meters, the grounds of Wat Suwan Khiri Khet transform into a lively market every Tuesday and Saturday from morning until late afternoon. Visitors can quickly shop for souvenirs and even local groceries.
Karon Temple is about half a kilometre from the beach on Patak Road. If your hotel is located at the northern end of Karon Beach, the temple is an easy walk and worth spending a few minutes of your time.
A beautiful garden on the temple grounds is always open to all visitors. There is another building in the temple guarded by two “yaks”, which are supernatural beings mentioned in ancient Buddhist texts. As you enter, there is this vast black sapphire sculpture of Buddha, along with the ornate Hindu goddess Kali riding a cow. The temple walls have paintings and murals that tell the Buddha’s life story, including the course of his enlightenment and the events of his ten lifetimes. Even the doors and windows are engraved with beautiful artistic images.
There are a total of 20 Buddha images in the temple. Seventeen are in the main hall, and the remaining three are in the ordination hall. The temple hosts a local market two days a week. The lively market has a variety of shops where you can buy souvenirs. It also has food stalls serving authentic Thai dishes. The market is open from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
How to Reach Wat Suwan Khiri Khet
Because Wat Suwan Khiri Khet is located half a kilometre from Karon Beach on Patak Road, a walk or even a motorbike ride from Karon Beach is enough to reach the temple.
The temple may not be as exotic as Phuket’s other cliché tourist attractions, but it is still a must-see for anyone who wants to experience an atmosphere of whimsical tranquillity and peaceful visual appeal.