I was telling you the other day about a recent trip I went on to Pattaya. As it is the main beach resort for people living in Bangkok I have been there many times. Some people go there as a day trip but really it is best to stay at least one night. On long holiday weekends, it can take you 2-3 hours to go there. Our nearest beach is at Bangsaen which I have talked about before. This is only just over an hour away. Pattaya has more of a nightlife and most people don’t see it as a place to soak up some culture during a break from sunbathing. However, this is what we tried to do last weekend.
Wat Yansangwararam, 15 kms south of Pattaya
Our day started with a tour around the magnificent Sanctuary of Truth. From here we drove about 15 kms south of Pattaya along Sukhumwit Road. At the KM 160 marker we turned off to visit Wat Yansangwaram. It felt like this temple was in the middle of no-where and I wasn’t expecting to see many people. However, this is one of the most important temples in Thailand as it is under patronage of His Majesty the King. Spread around its 145 acres there is a mondop which has a replica footprint of the Lord Buddha and a stupa with relics of the Lord Buddha and his disciples. There are also international pavilions with architectural styles representing half a dozen different countries.
From here we drove a short distance to Cheechan Hill. This is a famous local landmark which you can see from miles away. The 130 metre high Buddha image has been carved into the rock face with the aid of a laser. The effect is really amazing.
We next drove a short distance back to Wiharnsien which is an important Chinese temple. This is still within the grounds of Wat Yansangwaram. This temple contains many Thai-Chinese antiques and pieces of art. There is a 50 baht entrance fee but it is well worth it.
By this time it was already mid-afternoon and we were starving. We decided to head to the nearby Nongnooch Tropical Gardens for some lunch. This 600 acre garden has two man-made lakes and thousands of plants such as bonsai, cactus, palms, orchids and ferns. There is also a mini zoo. The tram tour of the gardens is well worth it. The highlight for many people is the cultural shows which take place three times daily. You can see traditional Thai dancing, ceremonies, martial arts and an elephant show. Entrance to the gardens is only 100 baht, but if you want to see the show as well you need to pay 500 baht. Thai price is 250 baht.
If you have been to Pattaya, can you suggests any more locations with a cultural theme?