Beyond beaches, bars and malls, there are a wealth of cultural activities to see and do in Pattaya. Besides being a Mecca for fun-loving holidaymakers, Pattaya is fast earning a reputation as a cultural epicentre too. In these days, tourists from all over the world are discovering that this mighty seaside city lot more to offer than just sun, surf and sand. To give you a head start on planning your trip, we’ve compiled a shortlist of our top four must-visit cultural attraction in Pattaya that you ought to explore.
1. Sanctuary of Truth
This iconic, one-of-a-kind teak structure has been a work in progress for over twenty years and shows no signs of nearing completion. Chiefly because the wood is not treated or chemically protected, which means every time a section of this seaside beauty is completed, another part has succumbed to the elements and needs repair. This awe-inspiring, 105-metre-high structure is built of intricately carved teak wood, all without the use of a single nail. Despite its grand appearance, it is not a temple, rather a place to contemplate art, culture, faith and philosophy; or, at least, that’s what its rich benefactor envisioned. Open daily from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.
2. Legends of Siam
This truly unique and incredible cultural attraction in Pattaya highlights the diverse and rich culture of Thailand from each of its 77 provinces. The massive park set over 164 acres is destined to become the new landmark of Pattaya. The park is split into three zones: Siam Vilizeshowcases the glorious civilization of Siam with mesmerizing architecture. Araya Thai presents a realistic Thai temple fair, mythical creatures from Thai literature and Ayutthaya-era Wat Phra Si San Phet. And lastly, Bhumi Pan Din lets visitors learn about legendary Bangrachan warriors, “sufficiency economy” with hands-on experience and witness a dazzling elephant parade.
3. Big Buddha Temple
Positioned nearly 100 metres above sea level, the so-called Big Buddha (aka Wat Phra Yai) peacefully watches over Pattaya from its lofty position on Pratumnak Hill, just south of town. The 18-metre-high golden statue certainly lives up to its name. But this is no mere tourist attraction, the Buddha is part of an active temple complex, with many locals coming to make merit and pray for good health, happiness and prosperity. As it occupies such a lofty position, a visit here will also afford you magnificent views of Pattaya Bay spread out below. Insider tip: if you don’t fancy climbing the steep stairs up to the top, take a taxi.
4. Nong Nooch Tropical Garden
Award-winning Nong Nooch Tropical Garden and tourist attraction occupy an expansive 500 acres (2.4 km2). The whole area is resplendent with incredible landscapes gardens, like a 17-century French garden; amazing recreations, such as Stonehenge; creative topiary displays; abundant lakes and flowers beds; gardens created exclusively with cacti, bonsais and tropical palms; and a hothouse of 670 native and hybrid varieties of orchid. In addition to the flora, there are also religious ceremonies, martial arts demonstrations, boxing and drumming shows, massages, elephant shows, a small zoo, swimming pool and restaurants and a hotel. Open daily from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.