Religion in Phuket
The main religion on Phuket, as in the rest of Thailand, is Theravada Buddhism. Theravada, literally the “Doctrine of the Elders”, is the name of the school of Buddhism that draws its scriptural inspiration from the Pali Canon, or Tipitaka, which scholars generally accept as the oldest record of the Buddha’s teachings.
Many people in Phuket also practice Daoism, usually together with Buddhism. This is due to the large number of Chinese immigrants who came to work in the tin mines during the 19th century. Several Chinese shrines can be found around Phuket City. During the Vegetarian Festival these are a hive of activity.
Thai Muslims make up approximately 35% of Phuket’s population, and many are still concentrated in the area around Kamala, Bangtao and Surin where the migrant Malays originally settled. Despite the smaller number of Muslims, mosques actually outnumber Buddhist wats on the island.
The Chao Leh practice their own form of animism, the belief in the existence of individual spirits that inhabit natural objects and phenomena.
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