3 Things To Know When Visiting Wat Chalong

It has been almost a year since we stopped in Chalong, Phuket along our travels. And one of the first places that I visited (and met some of my now good friends) was the Wat Chalong Chinese New Years market/fair (you can read about that day here).  Unfortunately on that day I did not take the time to walk around the actual temple buildings, I just went around the market and then went home.

At that time we were staying on a different area of the island, but now we are right around the corner from the most popular Wat (Thai for temple) in Phuket.  Recently, Chad, Z, and I were at lunch at a restaurant directly across the street from the temple and we decided to finally check it out.

The temple was built in the early 19th century and the grounds and buildings are intricately and beautifully designed. The buildings adorned with statues of buddha in every crevice and window. Gold, white,  and red-painted buildings paired with the exquisitely pruned shrubbery and fountains make this a place that you want to take your time and pay attention. Take a picnic lunch (or grab some food at one of the surrounding Thai restaurants) and spend the afternoon.

When you visit Wat Chalong, there are three things that are helpful to know ahead of time.

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1. “Cover up your sexy.”

This term was borrowed from a lovely lady that kindly informed my sister that in order to enter a Wat, a lady must cover up her sexy… or in layman terms, a lady must cover up her shoulders, cleavage, and thighs. When we visited I was wearing a tank top and shorts and I was told to dress up a little more. At Wat Chalong there are volunteers that happily hand out sarongs for all your covering up needs at the front entrance.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, both men and women must take off shoes and hats before entering the wat.

I think I look way sexier with the sarongs, don't you?
I think I look way sexier with the sarongs on, don’t you?

2. Be respectful.

Remember that a Wat (Buddhist temple) is a place of worship for Buddhists. They are not simply pretty buildings for tourists to take pictures in. Here is a list of some guidelines to follow when you enter any Buddhist temple.

  • Do not eat, chew gum, smoke, or spit
  • Do not touch or turn your back to an image of the Buddha (not turning my back on the buddha was difficult as there were pictures and statues of the buddha on every wall and in between, but I guess just try your best). Along with this, back away from looking at a Buddha statue, do not turn your back to it.
  • NEVER point your fingers or feet at a monk or statue of the Buddha.
  • Don’t disturb the monks or others who are worshipping in the temple (this includes taking their picture… be discreet people!)
  • Turn the sound off on your phone, lower your voice, just be all around quiet and respectful as much as possible. No one wants to hear all about your crazy night on Bangla Road, well, at least wait until we are outside.
  • Keep your hands to yourself! Do not touch any of the relics or sacred objects.
  • For all the Ladies— It is very important that you NEVER touch a monk or his robes. There is a lengthy and involved cleansing process if that happens.
  • Overall, just don’t be an obnoxious tourist.

3. Go on a Weekday.

There are a LOT of tour busses going to every tourist destination in Phuket and Wat Chalong is one of them. We were there on a Monday and it was not too crowded, but I have driven past the Wat on the weekends and it is much busier. If you can possibly visit on a weekday you may have a less crowded time exploring the area.

These 3 tips can help you when you visit any Wat in Thailand, or a place of worship anywhere (the Catholic churches in Budapest had the same dress code and I am sure many others do as well).  It always makes a place a little more relaxed and fun when I know what the rules are ahead of time (ever wear jeans to a black tie party… yeah me neither.)


Now it’s your turn! Have you ever been to Wat Chalong, or any Wat? What do you think of the tips I gave for visiting Wat Chalong? Are there any that you would have a hard time adhering to? Leave a comment and join in the conversation!

 

  18 comments for “3 Things To Know When Visiting Wat Chalong

  1. Much to be thankful for!
    January 23, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    When you wrote about not touching the monks or they’d have to go through a lengthy cleansing process I flashed on the chapters we just studied in Levitt customers last week in BSF and the many many steps the Levitt priests had to go through to be cleansed and able to enter the Tabernacle. Fascinating comment of the day award I’m sure! :0)

    • andthreetogo
      January 24, 2015 at 6:59 am

      That is very interesting! I find it so interesting when religions have cleansing rules that clean the outside of ones body to signify cleanliness of the soul.

  2. joylovestravel
    January 24, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Never been in a Buddhist temple but it sounds fascinating. Love the “cover up your sexy” phrase, never heard that before either but it’s a great one!! Still chuckling.

    • andthreetogo
      January 24, 2015 at 7:07 am

      Oh you really must visit one someday!
      It really is quite funny! Haha

  3. Lani
    January 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I’m totally using that. “Cover up your sexy.” Hells yeah. I can see it now, t-shirts, mugs, future essays and bumper stickers…I’ll give you 10% 😛

    • andthreetogo
      January 24, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Sounds good to me! You do all the work and I will make the profit. Hahaha (evil laugh).

  4. Sue Slaght
    January 24, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Good tips should I ever have the good fortune to visit!

    • andthreetogo
      January 25, 2015 at 8:04 am

      I am hoping that you will! 🙂

      • Sue Slaght
        January 25, 2015 at 8:44 am

        Me too. 🙂

  5. thehomeschoolingdoctor
    January 25, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Boy. Wish I had read this before! I helped tutor English as a Second Language in South Carolina. There were some monks there (kind of strange, I know). I’m sitting here trying to remember if I touched them as I helped them or not. I feel so bad if I did! Visiting the temple sounds stressful to me! Think I’ll stay on the outside if we go.

    • andthreetogo
      January 25, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Oh no! I definitely do not want to dissuade you from seeing inside! Despite what might seem like a lot of “rules” to follow, it feels pretty relaxed in the temple. I think the main point in all of them is to just be respectful as possible. 🙂
      I would be interested if all monks in all areas have to adhere to the same rules about women? That is something to research. 🙂

  6. thebritishberliner
    January 26, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Yep! I’ve been to many wats in Thailand and I would say that your tips are “right on” if only people would read them! I mean, I saw tourists running and screaming through the temple or wandering why it wasn’t appropriate to go in with a bikin in Chiang Mai! I mean, we wouldn’t do this at church so why go millions of miles away, and think it’s OK. It was really embarrassing. For all of us. 🙁

    • andthreetogo
      January 26, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Yeah. Some things are understandable… But the main point is be respectful!

  7. Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
    January 28, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Ha – cover up your sexy 🙂 Love the turn of phrase! But you’re right – the sarong is very alluring anyway.

    • andthreetogo
      January 28, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      It definitely has it’s own appeal, right?!

      • Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
        January 28, 2015 at 9:02 pm

        Opens this whole can of worms about what beauty means in different cultures, but I think we all get the general drift.

  8. mamabyfire
    February 5, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Wow-sounds amazing! Thanks for the tips, I would rather not learn those things the hard way. Especially about touching a monk-yikes!

    • andthreetogo
      February 5, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Yeah. I admit I have never gotten close enough to a monk that this would be an issue, but I guess it does happen 🙂

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