THE BIG BUDDHA.....or full name
Phraphuttha Mingmongkol Eaknakakeeree
Construction of the Big Buddha of Phuket started in 2004.
It is estimated that it will take another 5 years to complete the project.
This is an artistic impression of how the site will look when the project is finished......it IS extremely impressive.
It's always difficult to give an accurate date of conclusion of any massive building project but this is a project with a difference as it relies on peoples' donations...for example it costs 130 Baht (£2.60) for a bag of Portland Cement! And they need LOADS of bags!
But, bit by bit and with the Buddha becoming an ever increasingly attractive tourist attraction, the funds are steadily coming in. I take groups to the Big Buddha at least once a week and I can see progress being made with something different appearing all the time.
Many people are already involved in Buddhism and many of you have told me that it is a 'religion' that you find attractive.........hence the interest in visiting the site.
One tradition in any Temple is that you may (no matter what your race, religion, creed) kneel before a monk and receive a Good Luck Blessing complete with a wrist tie and a bash on the head with a waterlogged bunch of bamboo. This last idea appeals to me greatly and I shall be suggesting fellow charter skippers adopt this practice as you all file quietly onto our vessels....
There are awards for various 'Persons of the Year'. I believe there are awards for 'Women of the Year'. I wish to nominate Mrs Sue Baker (wife of Steph) as one of those special women who display courage and unending patience in the face of perpetual insanity.Those of you who know Steph as one of our dearly beloved angling brethren will understand exactly why Sue fully deserves her nomination and I expect to see you all sending me emails as I collect signatures to ensure she receives due recognition.
Here (above) Sue receives her Good Luck Blessing.....and if there was ever anyone who needs it....!!!
Here's Sue by the Golden Buddha which is next to the Big Buddha...this gives you an idea of the scale of the statue...and this is the small one!
The views from the Nakkerd Mountain are excellent. Here's one looking down onto Little Kata on the west side of Phuket.
Restaurants are cropping up along the lengthy road to the top of the Kakkerd mountain now. And there's also an Elephant Ride half way up which is proving to be extremely popular with everyone....it's a good ride as it combines forest and sea views...very nice.
Elephant rides are not cheap........a large percentage of the money is spent back on the animal which eats stacks and stacks every day. Expect about £25 to £30 per ride depending on time and current terrible exchange rate.
EXCHANGE RATE............the Exchange Rate between our British £1 and the Thai Baht is terrible. It is now just 47 Baht to the £1. When I arrived in November it was 56 Baht to the £1 and that was bad. When I bought the house in Dec 2007 I was getting 71 Baht to the £1!!! Imagine what the house would cost now!!
Fortunately you will still be enjoying a cheap holiday as your payment for hiring the house was all made in UK...so the Exchange Rate has no effect....nor does it on the flights. BUT it means you have to be a bit more careful with your spending money here as things now are NOT cheap.
We have severely cut down on our offshore, big boat diving for example as we can't afford it. But we're doing far more shore diving and then chartering local longtail boats for £40 for the day and going off and doing our own dives...so, where there's a means there's a way etc etc