As I mentioned in my last post I am a bit tired of temple viewing, but Pattaya does not have so much else to offer. So I went to the Sanctuary of Truth, a large temple completely constructed of wood and only wood. It is about five kilometers away from the northern end of the beach road, situated right on the coast.
When you arrive at the complex you have to pay 500 THB (12€) entrance fee which surprised me.
Once you have paid, you make your way to a wooden stairway leading you down to the sanctuary. Before you will have passed a shooting gallery, an all-terrain vehicle course, a riding course with two ponies, two elephants you can ride on, seven labbits you may feed for 20 Baht, a few fishes you may also feed for 15 Baht and a few goats you may – have a guess – feed for 20 Baht again. And that´s when you start to wonder where you are. A shooting gallery? A noise producing racing course for ATVs while you would expect a peaceful and spiritual environment in a sanctuary?
My expectations had turned pretty low by now. But then I had the first glimpse at the temple. And I must admit that I have hardly ever seen such an impressive construction like the Sanctuary of Truth.
All magnificent temples (like Angkor, Shwedagon or Wat Arun) I have seen so far, were all very old. They have been constructed centuries ago and all have a long history. And naturally I expected the same for this temple. But to my surprise the construction started in 1981 only. And even more surprising was the fact, that the construction will not be completed before 2025. On the outside there was only a small scaffolding visible like on all very old buildings. But this was reason enough to make wearing a helmet compulsory for visitors. Strange feeling to walk around such a place with a funny plastic helmet!
The temple was initiated and sponsored by a Thai billionaire with a mission to make the world a better place. It comprises a lot of hand carved Buddhist and Hindu sculptures and the architecture resembles the typical Khmer style of Cambodia. Its measurements are 100 meters in length and 105 meters in height!
The official website of the sanctuary says the following for a better understanding: “The building was constructed according to ancient Thai ingenuity and every square inch of the building is covered with wooden carve sculpture. The purposes of decoration with wooden carve sculptures are to use art and culture as the reflection of Ancient Vision of Earth, Ancient Knowledge, and Eastern Philosophy. With in this complex, visitors will understand Ancient Life, Human Responsibility, Basic Thought, Cycle of living, Life Relationship with Universe and Common Goal of Life toward Utopia.”
So really one cannot say that this is a temple. Visitors do not even have to take off their shoes when entering the building nor do they come here to pray or make donations.
What impressed me the most was the shear number of beautiful wooden sculptures wherever you looked at.
There were also quite a few craftsmen working on new sculptures, and they all appeared to me to be Cambodians.
When you enter the temple you will be just as impressed as by the outer looks. Again lots of wonderful wooden sculptures and artwork nicely illuminated.
So to summarise, I would say the entrance fee is a bit ambitious but this temple or sanctuary is definitely a must see even if you went to Pattaya with other objectives.
Click the slide show above the post to see more images.