Thailand is mainly Buddhist but due to the many different influences in Phuket, there are more than just Buddhist temples on the island, and you will have no difficulties to see also Taoist shrines, mosques or even catholic churches. To visit temples and shrines in Phuket you can either join an organized tour or visit them by your own means.
Before visiting one sacred place in Phuket, bear in mind that you must be respectful to religion, traditions, and the culture of Thailand. There are a few rules that you must follow: first do not wear shorts or sleeveless shirts. Women in particular must avoid wearing revealing attires. Monks are forbidden to have physical contacts or to receive objects from a woman. Before entering a temple, you must remove your shoes and never point your feet towards any image of the Buddha.
Temples do not charge any entry fee but there are donation boxes for you to make charity. Arguably, here are the most spectacular temples and shrines in Phuket.
Put Jaw Shrine
This Taoist shrine is the oldest in Phuket and is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy whose father cut her arm because she was refusing to marry the man chosen by her father. Built more than 200 years ago, it was severely damaged by a fire and renovated 100 years ago. In the main hall of the temple you will be able to see statues of the goddess and of her keepers.
Jui Tui Tao Bokeng Shrine
This Taoist shrine is quite recent and more decorated than Put Jaw shrine. This place is dedicated to Kiu Wong In, a vegetarian god. Hence, followers of this temple are very active during Phuket’s vegetarian festival every year. In this shrine, you will certainly see believers giving offerings to the god, such as cakes, oranges, pineapples, etc. The main interest of this temple lies in the splendid sculptures on the big wooden doors.
Sanjo Sam Sa Chinese shrine
Located on Krabi Road and built in 1853, this sacred place is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. When a newly built boat is put out to sea, offerings are given to the goddess. This place benefits with a truly refined atmosphere.
Wat Chalong is the most important Buddhist center in Phuket and is famous all-around Thailand for its healing powers. Actually, one of the monks who once run the temple is hugely venerated amongst Thais. During the reign of King Rama V, Luang Por Chaem was the abbott of the monastery and helped to restore peace after a rebellion by the Chinese tin miners. The monk was a herbal doctor and he healed many of those wounded during the rebellion.
Wat Phra Tong
Located in Thalang near the Thalang District Office, Wat Phra Tong is the second most important Buddhist temple in Phuket. It is famous for its half buried statue of the Buddha. It is believed that whoever would tries to dig up the statue would suffer terrible misfortune. This belief comes from the discovery of the statue: it is said that one small boy attached his buffalo to what he regarded as a simple post. When the young boy suddenly fell ill without explanation, villagers went around the post and started to dig around the “post” which in fact was the top of the Buddha statue. Wat Phra Tong was then built to protect the revered monument. It is King Rama V, during a 1909 visit to the temple, who gave it its name of Wat Phra Tong.
Wat Phra Nang Sang
Wat Phra Nang Sang is the oldest Buddhist temple in Phuket. It is located in Thalang and was built when this city was still the capital of Phuket. When the Burmese tried to invade Phuket back in 1785, it is rumoured that they were after religious manuscripts kept in the temple, which were believed to be treasure maps.