There’s a lot more to Pattaya than beer bars and beach blankets
For many visitors Pattaya’s main draw is the beach, followed closely by the round-the-clock party atmosphere, but for those looking for something a little more scenic there are plenty of captivating options.
NONG NOOCH: Although the Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden was officially opened in 1980, its official history dates back to 1954 when Khun Nongnooch Tansacha bought this 1,500 rai (600 acre) plot of land, eventually changing it from a garden of fruits to a garden of meticulously manicured flowers. Divided into thematic sections—such as the Italian garden, the Versailles-inspired French Garden, the animal sculpture garden, and Butterfly Hill—these sprawling, vibrantly coloured grounds are nothing short of breathtaking. In addition to the gardens there are daily Thai cultural performances and elephant shows, and you can even book a room and stay at the Nong Nooch Resort if you’re reluctant about leaving this bounty of natural beauty too soon.Visit the website at: www.nongnoochgardenpattaya.com for more information.
SANCTUARY OF TRUTH: Arguably the most unique and visually captivating attraction in all of Pattaya, the Sanctuary of Truth is a gigantic wooden “temple” located by the seashore at Rachvate Cape. The entire complex has been constructed according to ancient Thai ingenuity—no nails or screws—and every square inch is covered with intricate carvings that reflect Thailand’s four major philosophical and artistic influences: Hindu, Khmer, Chinese, and Thai. The man behind the project is an eccentric billionaire known as “Khun Lek”, who employs an army of woodcarvers to bring his vision to life. Strictly speaking the building is still incomplete, but it’s open to visitors for a fee of B450 and compulsory tours are led through the building every 30 minutes.
BIG BUDDHA: Located high atop Pratumnak Hill, on the jut of land between Pattaya Bay and Jomtien Beach, sits Wat Phra Yai, a temple built in the 1940s when Pattaya was nothing more than a fishing village. But what really draws visitors—Thai and tourist alike—to this spot is the 18 metre tall Big Buddha statue (the largest in the region). Local people come to pray here, but all visitors stop to look at the vast panoramic views of the city and ocean. There are also several smaller Buddha statues here, as well as a Buddha footprint and a pavilion hall with painted mosaics.