Jamie's Phuket Blog

Wat Phra Nang Sang

Wat Phra Nang Sang is the oldest temple in Phuket, dating back maybe as much as 500 years. If I read what I can find on the internet, it seems the exact age is unsure and for sure the temple has been renovated and rebuilt over that time. It might be accurate to say a temple has been on the site for 500 years. One story says a powerful southern Thai ruler had the temple built for his wife. Another story says that the temple was built in honour of a princess who was due to be executed, although she had been framed and was innocent. When she was executed she bled white bood, thus showing her purity. The temple is also called Wat Luad Khao (White Blood Temple). In 1785, the Burmese invaded Phuket and were fought off by the people of Phuket led by 2 ladies. The Phuket people gathered at this temple before the battle which must have been fought nearby. At that time, Thalang was the main town in Phuket.

Wat Phra Nang Sang

The battle is commemorated every year in March at the Phuket Heroines Festival in Thalang. A statue of Thao Thep Kassatri and Thao Sri Sunthon (known as Chan and Mook before the King gave them these names for their valiant defense of Phuket) lies in the temple grounds - a larger one can be seen at the so called Heroines Monument - a traffic circle on the main road between the airport and Phuket City.

Wat Phra Nang Sang

Nearby you can also find Wat Phra Tong (which lies a bit further north) and Wat Sri Sunthon (a little south of Thalang). I've only stopped once at Wat Phra Nang Sang. Will no doubt go back - but it still appears to be undergoing restoration work, so I'll wait a while. The grounds are quite large, it's worth taking your time. I do need to get new photos as on this visit the main prayer hall was closed, and since it was a few years ago, my camera was not great either!

Wat Phra Nang Sang

Wat Phra Nang Sang

There's a lot of history here. My daughter was amazed to see a mummified Abbot who died about 50 years ago I think. Not sure she could believe she was seeing an actual dead Monk. There is another building featuring 3 large Buddha images. These were built before the Burmese invasion in 1785. The temple was home to 3 sacred Buddha images made of tin, which would have been taken by the invaders had they not been beaten back. The tin Buddha images were hidden inside the 3 images that you can see, which were made of concrete. The tin images were apparently forgotten about and only uncovered as recently as 1973. Phuket was until recently a major tin mining center and this helped to make Phuket quite wealthy.

Wat Phra Nang Sang

Wat Phra Nang Sang - Location Map


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Anonymous Anonymous :

Hi jamie, I love your blog. I'm doing some research for a local community arts festival in the far west of Cornwall, whose theme this year is "Looking East". I'm researching ideas to work in collaboration with our local Tin Mining Heritage site and museum here, so its been great to find your blog and particularly with the tin miming info and pictures. What I would like to see is an image of the "Monks in the Belly" or "Three Kings" tin Bhuddas at Phra Nang Sang but can not find any images on the internet anywhere. It's written about but no images.You wouldn't have an image you could post up would you? We're looking for an visual character we can work on that would work well as a large scale proccessional image and thought it sounded very relevant given the tin connections. Or if you could direct me to any websites that I might have missed . So great to see your kids getting interested in the tin museum. I'd never have believed it until I got involved myself but geology has got to be one of the most fascinating subjects ever. Thanks in advance for any help you could offer..and for the blog.
Diane

February 04, 2011  

Anonymous Jamie in Phuket :

Hi Diane,

I must have missed the 3 Kings, we visited this temple over 4 years ago, though I do intend to go again since the place has had some renovations done. The 3 big tin Buddhas are covered in gold - there is a photo of one of them on this page. I found this:

http://www.phuketjoy.com/forum/index.php?topic=245.0

and

http://touronthai.com/gallery/placeview.php?place_id=71000023

if I go back sometime I will take a lot more photos - looks like maybe these heads were once inside other statues, but not now...

Phuket's wealth was largely based on tin (and rubber). The older parts of Phuket Town were built on tin money. My area (Kathu) was the center of the mining industry - have you seen the photos of the local festival?

Kathu Village Cultural Festival

or on Flickr:

Kathu Village Festival Slideshow

As you can see, they did some tin mining demonstrations showing old sluicing and panning techniques.

Hope that helps!

Cheers
Jamie

February 04, 2011  

Anonymous Nicky :

Hi Jamie, your blog is awesome! I am landing phuket airport at around 3pm and flying to bangkok at 10pm. I was thinking of using that afternoon time slot to catch the airport bus to visit the phranangsang temple. Is there an opening hour for the temple and are there any food markets near by? Thanks heaps!

November 25, 2011  

Blogger Jamie Monk in Phuket :

Hi Nicky,

Yes, thats possible, get airport bus south to Thalang, the temple is quite obvious and by the main road, you could also fit in Wat Pra Tong same afternoon - maybe stop there first as its on the southbound side of the road (from the main road you'd need to walk about 400 meters up a side road to Wat Pra Tong, then walk back out to the main road, turn left (south), then about another 600m to reach Wat Pra Nang Sang.

November 25, 2011  

Blogger Jamie Monk in Phuket :

Not sure if you will pass a local market but you will have a lot of local shops around. Thalang used to be the main town in Phuket a couple of hundred years ago.

November 25, 2011