The awe-inspiring Sanctuary of Truth is conveniently situated on the northern shoreline at Rachvate Cape, Tambon Naklua in Pattaya and over-looks the calm waters of Palm Beach. It is ever so close to the hustle and bustle of this popular seaside resort. So much so, you could easily walk there from your beach hotel. That is if your hotel is situated in the small town of Naklua. If not, you can hop on one of the songtaew pick-up trucks that are seen all around Pattaya. Alternatively hire a car or motorcycle and make your way there.
This gigantic wooden formation stands tall at one hundred and five metres
and covers quite a vast and expansive area. Not only is the building
constructed according to ancient Thai ingenuity, but one of the most
remarkable aspects here are the equally impressive
ornate wooden carvings which are made entirely out of teak. In fact, every single square inch of the structure both inside and outside, is teak.
It's a very special place where Thai culture as well as religion, art and philosophy come together in perfect harmony. Entry to the Sanctuary is 500 Baht for adults and 250 Baht for children. Perhaps a bit expensive but well worth every penny.
The Sanctuary of Truth was the brainchild of an eccentric billionaire known as Khun Lek who had previously built an enormous art museum in the shape of the mythical three-headed elephant called Erawan. Khun Lek wanted something more as a way to bring together the rich architectural heritage of Thailand. He has since died and unfortunately didn't get to see the completion of his passion.
Construction of the temple began after many years of research by the billionaire who for the most part, followed the lines of traditional Thai architecture. However, there are also some Indian, Chinese and Cambodian artistic influences seen here as well. A good example of this can be viewed at the west wing of the temple which is in the typical Khmer style of the Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat.
Although construction is somewhat slow, there are up to two hundred and fifty woodcarvers working on the site on any given day. Every detail of the temple is hand carved out of wood and although not obliged, you can lend an extra hand. As you see in the photo below, I volunteered to help but it wasn't that easy.
One other attraction of this magnificent sanctuary, which incidentally is included in the price of your entrance fee, is the dolphin show where you can get up close and personal to two very delightful and playful dolphins. You are allowed to touch and feed them and occasionally you may even be able to swim with them.
Just be aware that these shows start at set times throughout the day, so you could come back later to view the sanctuary again at any time. There are also some informal traditional Thai dancing displays performed in the restaurant on the premises so you could decide to have a leisurely lunch here too. Set aside at least half of the day so that you can relax and stroll around at your own pace.
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