The Big Buddha of Phuket is still under construction but it is already one of the most iconic images of this Thai resort island. Sitting at the top of the highest hill in Chalong at a height of 45 metres, the Big Buddha is 10 metres taller than the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and nearly the same height as New York City’s Statue of Liberty. Its exterior is adorned with white jade Burmese marble, which sparkles in the sun and makes a striking presence that can be seen from many points across southern Phuket.

The view is equally as impressive. Standing at the top of Big Buddha hill, you’ll gaze across a panorama that takes in Phuket City, Wat Chalong, Kata and Karon beaches and the Andaman Sea beyond. Visiting at sunset is a must, and for refreshments and dinner there are some basic but good restaurants along the roadside leading up to the Big Buddha, including our favourite, Nakkerd Restaurant, which clings to the jungle-clad hillside and overlooks Karon Bay.