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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

WAT CHALONG

PHUKET, THAILAND

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Most people go to Phuket for the beaches, babes and bars.......We were no exception, but after a few days of lying on the beach, it was time to take a break. Having recently read about Wat Chalong, we decided that this was a must see tour. 

We hired a taxi out of Kata Beach for one half day and slowly made our way around the southern tip and up the eastern coast of Phuket, stopping often for photos and points of interest. The vistas were breathtaking and the very modern lighthouse quite unique. 

WAT CHALONG

From the decorated arched entrance of the Wat immediately we sensed that a treat awaited us. Princely and mystical, the surroundings engaged us.

A century ago, at the end of the 1800's Chalong got a bad reputation that was hard to shake. At that time, Phuket was rich in tin ore and both Chinese miners and Malay pirates had their eye on the port. Many times the miners battled the marauding pirates for control of the area.

 

At Wat Chalong, six km south of Phuket Town on Vichit Road, history was made when local people fought against gangs of Chinese who came from Malaysia to seize the area with its high-yielding tin mines. King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, sent an army south to expel the encroachers. Meeting in an open field where Wat Chalong stands today, it was here where the plunderers were driven back to the sea. In fact, the locals didn't stop there, as they dislodged the entire island of the hijackers.

Historically, Wat Chalong, the site of the battle, is the biggest, most ornate and important temple in Phuket today.  It is associated with the revered monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, both of whom were famous for their work in herbal medicine and tending to the injured. During the tin minersí rebellion of 1876 they mobilized aid for the injured on both sides. Tattered gold leaf covers the statue of Luang Pho Chaem, abbot of Wat Chalong during the reign of King Chulalongkorn. The monk was noted for his ability to set broken bones, as he attended to the wounded during this foreign intrusion.  He also mediated in the rebellion, bringing the warring parties together to resolve their dispute.

During World War II when bombs were dropped in the Andaman region, Phuket was spared and the locals attribute Wat Chalong with having the power to deflect even these bombs. Luang Pho Chaem has been worshipped ever since for bringing prosperity to those who pray to him, and you can see Thais and visitors from other Asian countries, apply thin sheets of gold to his image out of respect for his powers.

YOUNG DEVOTEE

As in many other wats in Thailand, Thais come here to be blessed by the monks and receive a good luck charm in the form of a string tied around the wrist.  This is a holy string, embedded with the monks' prayers and chants, and Thais believe it protects them from injury and illness.  Although it is meant to be worn until it falls apart, after a couple of weeks of daily wear, I cut mine.

Many local Thais and Asian tourists will set off fire crackers and ask for the lucky lottery numbers. When we were there, it was the

beginning of the Iraqi War, and the unexpected blasts sent us looking for cover! 

Also popular is having one's fortune told either by shaking a can of bamboo chopsticks until one stick works its way to the top and falls to the floor, or by utilizing a pair of blocks made from bamboo roots that are tossed into the air. The bamboo chopsticks have a number on them, corresponding to the numbers on the drawer in a wooden cabinet. 

 

Just take one of the slips of paper inside, corresponding to your number on the chopstick, and have a local Thai translate it for you.  The bamboo root blocks correspond only to yes and no answers.  With either divination you choose, a donation is expected to be made into the safe at the altar.  This helps with the upkeep and maintenance of the temple.

Open daily, visiting this fabulous and opulent wat is well worth the time.

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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