Pattaya may have a reputation as a part of the seedier side of Thailand, but that image is very much beginning to change. Besides being a gateway to several beautiful islands in the Gulf of Thailand and offering a number of new family-friendly attractions, Pattaya is also home to some very unique and beautiful temples. Visit these three amazing temples to discover the sacred side of Pattaya City.
Wat Phra Yai - The Pattaya Big Buddha
While not as impressive as the Big Buddhas in Hong Kong or Phuket, Pattaya's Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple) is a lovely place to visit. Sitting on a hill overlooking the city and the sea, the temple has a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, cool breezes, and great views.
It's possible to walk up the hill to the Big Buddha Temple, but it's a long, sweaty hike. It's advised to hire a tuk-tuk or a driver to take you to the top. Surrounding the temple, you'll find a number of souvenir and coffee shops, as well as plenty of drivers waiting for your attention.
This temple is a fairly popular spot. Besides the great views over the bay, it's also a good place to receive a blessing from a monk.
If you make a small donation to the temple, a monk will sprinkle you with holy water, say a prayer, and tie a blessed white string bracelet around your wrist.
Buddha Mountain - The Pattaya Laser Buddha - Khao Chi Chan
Not far outside of town is "Buddha Mountain", commonly referred to as the "Pattaya Laser Buddha". This famous Buddha image was carved out of the side of a mountain with a laser (hence its name) and inlaid with gold. At 130 meters high, it's one of the largest Buddha images in the world!
The Laser Buddha at Buddha Mountain was designed in 1996 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the ascension of Thailand's King Bhumipohl to the throne.
Buddha Mountain is surrounded by beautiful gardens, shrines, and lotus ponds. It's a tranquil and quiet escape outside of Pattaya City, and a famous and revered site for Thai Buddhists.
The Sanctuary of Truth
Built on the white sandy beaches just north of Pattaya, sits the impossible Sanctuary of Truth, carved entirely from teak wood and looking like something out of a Thai legend.
Admission is 500 baht, and it goes towards the constant restoration and upkeep of this hand-carved wooden temple. The Sanctuary of Truth is made entirely out of teak wood without the use of even one metal nail! Dozens of craftsmen work constantly to improve and restore the temple.
Admission includes a tour, which takes you through not only the temple, but also the workshops, where craftsmen will explain and demonstrate how they carve the beautiful wooden pieces of the temple.
The Sanctuary of Truth is divided into four wings, each representing an aspect of southeast Asian spirituality. The wings represent Cambodia, China, India, and Thailand respectively. Construction began in the 1980s, but isn't expected to be finished until sometime in the 2050s, although it is complete enough to enter and look around. Tours are required, and all visitors must wear hardhats for protection at all times.