When my wife drove to Koh Sirey on the east side of Phuket Town, I had no idea I was on a small island. Koh Sirey (or Koh Siray) is so close to shore that it feels more like a cape. Just 20 km2, this area offers a completely different side of Phuket. Think Phuket 20-30 years ago. Think mangroves and rubber plantations. There’s even a sea gypsie village here, known locally as “Chao Ley.” Now we didn’t get to explore the island that much; we came just before sunset to visit the Koh Sirey Temple: a replica of the famous Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock) in Burma (Myanmar).
My wife’s younger brother lives on Phuket with his girlfriend where they study at university. We love to bring them with us when visiting new places.
The temple sits high on a hill with a spectacular view over Phuket Town. In this picture, you can see Monkey Hill (the hill with TV and Radio masts).
You can also see the sea gypsie village. The people call themselves Urak Lawo – a specific culture within the larger group known as the Moken. The population of around 2,000 speak a Malay-related language influenced by Thai.
A sign in Burmese. I had a Burmese twitter-friend translate it for me. The first line is two names: “U Min Htay” + “Daw Than Than Lei”. The second line means “Family Donation” and the third line translates as “Ya Bae Village.”
Brother hitting the bell for good luck.
We never went inside the temple that houses a large reclining Buddha. There are a few smaller Buddha statues outside the temple.
The “Golden Rock”.
Sunset over Phuket Town.
Staircase with golden Naga sculptures.
The original Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo Pagoda) in Burma is located on top of Mount Kyaiktiyo at 1,100 meters (3615 feet) above sea level. This is one of the most sacred Buddhist religious sites in the world; built more than 2500 years ago. Photo: Asias World.