Chalong Temple Fair
The annual fair at Chalong temple (Wat Chalong) takes place every year around Chinese New Year. The 2015 event will be from about 13th - 22nd February. The date changes every year. A great place to sample a bit of local life, the Chalong Temple fair has been part of the Phuket calendar since 1954 featuring fairground rides, clothes and handicrafts, furniture, flowers, fruit stalls, toy stalls, snack stalls, games, lots and lots of food, and live music in the evenings. It all takes place in the temple grounds at Wat Chalong, which is Phuket's largest and most visited temple.
I had not stopped at the Chalong temple fair for a few years. I mean, it's quite interesting if you're visiting the area for the first time, you get a lot of new sights, sounds, smells and flavours (go on, sample some snacks from the stalls!) - but I had no great reason to visit. I had originally blogged about the fair back in 2008, and this is an update of that blog post with lots of new photos. I stopped at Chalong temple twice last week on the way home from work in the early evening. Parking a car near the temple is hard work and anyone who owns a shop or house within a few hundred meters converts their land into a car park, at a price! This takes advantage of lazy people. I parked about half a kilometer away and walked a few minutes to the temple. The entrance is all coloured fluorescent lights - you see the same at just about any local fair. Follow the lights.
And the very first stalls right inside the entrance, were selling that tourist favourite (for a photo, maybe not to eat) - fried insects and insect larvae and... let's just say, I am happy to take a photo, but I can see no earthly reason to eat a fried insect. People say "it tastes like prawns". Great, I can eat prawns instead! I get put off by people saying "the legs get stuck in your teeth". The insect eating stage is where I would quit "Fear Factor" :)
The grounds of the temple are quite large, and with stalls packed in all over the place it's kind of like a maze! A map would be useful, or you can just wander around and hope to find something interesting. Some sections are more devoted to clothes, some areas have lots of food, and there was a big funfair section with rides and games for kids.
All kinds of food and snacks for sale, when you head to a fair like this, or the weekly weekend market outside Phuket Town, no need to eat dinner first! You can just keep buying different things to try.
(Might need to be brave to try some of the curries above!)
And I'd just like to add that there was a small shop set up in a tent selling pets. Mostly kittens and hamsters and such. And an owl. Not sure if the owl was for sale. But it was a very cool owl.
Markets and temples are great places for people watching and for getting a flavour of the real Phuket away from the tourist beaches. I realise not everyone will be interested, but really, there's more here than meets the eye. Phuket is there to be explored. I know it takes a bit of effort because Phuket is quite big. Some people come for beaches, some for b***hes, some for the sun and the food. Some people just want a holiday in a nice resort with no hassle. But, Phuket has so much more!
Related posts on Jamie's Phuket
• Wat Chalong Information
• More Phuket Temples
• Phuket Weekend Market
• Karon Temple Market
• Phuket Festivals