Phuket Heroines Monument
Phuket Heroines Monument
Heroines Monument at the traffic roundabout on Thepkasattri Road in Thalang is one of the top landmarks on Phuket.
Every visitor from the airport heading south of Surin will pass Heroines Monument on the way to their destination.
Most non-Phuket Thais make it a must-stop here before entering the city, especially if it is their first visit to the island. They usually purchase garlands, incense sticks and gold leaf (to put on the shrine version of the same statues) from vendors selling these items nearby. This small shrine at the base of the monument is where people come to pay respect to the famed heroines, commonly known as Ya Chan and Ya Mook (Ya means grandmother in Thai).
It’s tradition for locals to come and say goodbye, paying respect to the heroines to help protect them from bad things before leaving the island. These often include students who are going away to pursue a higher education in Bangkok or overseas.
And if you happen to be in Phuket around the middle of March the annual Phuket Heroines Festival takes place near Thalang Town around 13 March, the date of the Battle of Thalang in 1785. Each year the festival tends to be bigger and more impressive than before, featuring a dramatic re-enactment with hundreds of performers based on the events of 1785.
The inspiring story is about how brave Lady Chan and Lady Mook led a group of mainly local women against a larger force of Burmese infantry and defeated the invaders over two centuries ago. Amazingly it still has a strong impact on the psyche of local islanders to this day.
The sisters Chan and Mook were born into a life of privilege as part of the Baan Kien Village family. Chan married and became a widow twice. The second time was when she was around estimated to be between 45 to 50 years old. Her husband, who was the governor of Thalang Town, died from a long illness just before the Burmese troops invaded. When the invasion began instead of fleeing the sisters decided to rally those who remained and resist the invading army.
There is evidence that suggests that Lady Chan lived a full life after the war. She reportedly is said to have assisted local Thais rebuild their lives through tin trading – yet another amazing feat for a Thai woman of that era.
The rest of the story has become legend, and then in 1967 the monument was completed with reigning King Rama IX presiding over its grand opening ceremony in May 1967.