The Sanctuary of Truth

I have mentioned before that Pattaya is not exactly my favourite beachside resort. Apart from the sleaziness, the beaches are not my idea of tropical white sand and palm trees. Better to head further south to Koh Samet and Koh Chang. However, there are some locations in Pattaya which have a more of a cultural flavour. So, at the weekend, I was determined to fill my day with some alternatives to sitting on the beach.

My first stop was the Sanctuary of Truth. This is another massive structure constructed by the late Khun Lek. You may remember me talking about The Erawan Museum the other day. This wooden palace was his second project and was started way back in 1981. It isn’t yet finished though it is already open to the public. The entrance fee is a steep 500 baht which I think is their way of keeping the number of visitors low. Luckily I was able to get in for free as I know the owners. I haven’t been here for about two years so a few things have changed. The first thing I noticed was a horse and buggy ride which takes you from the car park to the top of the hill. Secondly, the family pet dolphins had now been trained to perform in a show. I guess they are trying to give value for money to visitors.

The Sanctuary of Truth is a gigantic wooden building. Maybe the biggest in the world. It is 105 metres high and 100 metres long. This is equal to a 20 storey building. Just about every inch, inside and outside, is covered in rich wooden carvings depicting various eastern cultures and religions. As the building is still under construction, your tour guide will give you a hard hat to protect your head. But, there isn’t too much to worry about.

It is quite expensive to enter this place but it is well worth it. You will be richly rewarded. I must have taken nearly three hundred pictures here. There was plenty to look at in every direction you looked. Of secondary interest is the dolphin show. But, I didn’t linger to watch. I am not sure how you would get to the Sanctuary of Truth on your own. It is in northern Pattaya at the end of Soi Nakula 12. It is rather out of the way. However, I did see some tourists arrive on the back of a songtaew. So, I guess you can hire one to come out here.

This is another of those places under the category of “Unseen Thailand”. You won’t find it in any foreign guidebook.

Go to page 2 for some more pictures….

6 responses to “The Sanctuary of Truth

  1. I think Khun Lek was quite a character -it is a sad loss that he is no longer with us.
    I have not been to Pattaya since 1996 when I stopped off for a day or two en route to Chanthaburi. There are some other things worth doing in Pattaya as well as visiting the Sanctuary of Truth -the Aquarium, for example, is very good and well worth the effort , I have also visited a stonecutters yard where a crowd of stonemasons from Isaan labour to make things out of granite, everything from a mortice and pestle to those Chinese lions with a perfectly round ball in the mouth -which is carved through the teeth of the lion -how DO they do that??! Interesting to watch them at work. I also seem to remember there is a hill which offers great views over the local countryside and sea -but watch out for the troop of monkeys that snatches everything in sight -you can buy fruit from vendors to feed them if you are more charitable towards them than I am !

  2. Just to give people some idea of how huge this place is, I have an “arial” photo from the 23rd floor of Sky Beach in the direction of the Sanctuary of Truth. ST is in the center of the photo.“>

    And while you there you can read my travelog from my trip home in 2003 as well. 🙂

  3. I’ve visit the Sanctuary of Truth last december and it was really nice place to visit.If you like wood craft work that’s the place to be.Even close to pattaya it seems not many ppl know it. Price 500 bath is expensive,but it keeps indeed the amounth of visitors low,but it much nicer when you walk around.***there is some kinda free guide who explane inside about the structure.

  4. I will definitely put this venue on my list of must sees during my next trip in April,06. I love places like this.

  5. Thanks, Richard. What a beautiful place as depicted in your photographs. It is definitely in my plans for Feb. ’06

  6. Firstly I agree it is awesome – the sheer size is quite breathtaking.

    I would add that there are various price structures, the 500 baht being the highest one. You can enter the gounds and look at the Sanctuary completely FREE of charge but have to pay the 500 to actually enter the building.

    One other thing worth noting is that you can swim with dolphins here too. It is a little contrived as they are semi-tame but its a nice easy way to do one of things you “mean to do before you die”. Contrived or not it is something ese I will never forget.