Known widely for its crazy nightlife and parties, Thailand’s coastal city of Pattaya certainly has plenty of venues that will test your eardrums and push your senses to their limits. But there’s much more to Pattaya than loud music and flashy lights. The city also has a rich and textured history to discover, with many religious sanctuaries and traditional attractions to explore.
In this article, we put the spotlight on three of the finest cultural attractions Pattaya.
The Sanctuary of Truth
Price: Adult-500 baht Children-250 baht Opening hours: 8:00-17:00
Location: 206/2 Moo5, Pattaya-Naklua Road Soi 12, Naklua Tel: +66 (0)38367229
Known locally as Prasart Satchathum, The Sanctuary of Truth is a landmark temple in Pattaya. The temple’s striking combination of redwood and teakwood is an engineering marvel, carved professionally and joined together without the use of metal or cement. Even the bolts that hold the wall, roof, sculptures and floors in place are made of wood.
You won’t see designs like this anywhere else in the world, with the temple blending together centuries-old patterns, inspired by Buddhist and Hindu religious tradition, with mythologies from Cambodia, China, and Thailand. The complex functions like a museum and includes a special tour guide for the temple area.
Plenty of activities are also available around the temple, including rides on elephants, horses, and all-terrain vehicles, as well as speedboat trips on the sea. Shows, restaurants, and souvenir shops are all conveniently nearby to complete the experience.
Big Buddha Temple
Price: Free Opening hours: 24/7
Location: Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chonburi
The Big Buddha Temple is a traditionally-styled temple where local and travelling Buddhists alike often visit to perform merit activities. The main feature is the 18-metre-tall golden Buddha statue sitting atop the hill. Although the temple is always open, the most ideal time to visit is during the early evening. The sunset sky will provide a beautiful and colourful backdrop for the majestic golden Buddha; it’s a true feast for the eyes.
The temple is also home to many other smaller Buddha statues such as the sitting chubby Buddha and the walking man. Inside the temple are shops that sell items for rituals and prayer. There people can make donations or buy incense and flowers to pay their respects to the temple.
If you have pre-teen children, visiting the Big Buddha Temple is an excellent family-friendly activity. The kids will be in awe of the giant statue, and the temple grounds provide a picturesque setting for quality family time. Just make sure they stay fairly quiet. As this is a place of worship, rambunctious behaviour would not be appropriate.
The Pattaya Floating Market
Price: Adult-200 baht Opening hours: 9:00-20:00
Location: 451/304 Moo 12, Banglamung, Pattaya Tel: +66 (0)38706340
Completed in 2009, this is the largest floating market in Eastern Thailand. Over 100 stores sell products from all around the country, including wooden sculptures, locally produced Thai food, fresh fruits, and souvenirs.
When you arrive at the Pattaya floating market, you’ll be invited to sit on a wooden boat, and be paddled Thai-style to different shops and vendors. You’ll find plenty of products to take home, but shopping is only the beginning of the experience. The market’s own mini-zipline can give you a view of the whole area, along with a rush of excitement after you climb the wooden tower and start zooming down the line.
You’ll also find other entertainment around the floating market, such as regular muay thai boxing matches. All in all, the Pattaya floating market makes for another excellent travel destination, letting you experience another side of one of Thailand’s most popular holiday cities.
Travel the Thai way
These three cultural attractions in Pattaya are well maintained, beloved by visitors, and offer fascinating insights into Thai culture. And if you’d really like to experience them the Thai way, consider using a songthaew for transportation. A songthaew is a small truck with two benches in the back, which drives around and picks up paying passengers like an ordinary bus would do. You can call for one by waiting beside a main road, and waving your hand as it comes around.