Monday, April 23, 2012

The Sanctuary of Truth (Pattaya, Thailand)

The Sanctuary of Truth is a pretty recent temple (1981), but nonetheless impressive. According to their leaflet, it is not only a replica of ancient art, but it also shows the power of contemporary creation. The objective of this initiative was to preserve and revive Ancient Knowledge. The temple is entirely made of wood, except for its foundation, and measures 100 m in height, which is equal of a 20-storey building.

More than its dimensions, we were impressed by the extremely detailed wood carving, which makes the temple look like a huge piece of lace seen from the distance. It is adorned with decorative, symbolic and spiritual figures that were meticulously had carved from teak wood and which were attached to the structure without using any nails. However, this fantastic piece of work is still in progress and one can see the wood carvers working in their workshop by the temple:

The place could feel a bit like a tourist trap, but there are so many activities (besides visiting the temple) that you can do in only a few hours which you would not probably do otherwise: elephant rides, chariot rides, horse rides, speed boating, foot massages, traditional dance shows, guided tours.
Everything happens in this 32-acre park which has been designed to entertain and to emphasize the beauty of the sanctuary.

The packages they sell are especially appropriate for short holidays in Pattaya and are very inexpensive: we paid $40 for temple tour, dance show, elephant ride, and 15 min-foot massage (for 2 pax). Tours are available in many languages. It is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can get there by cab (100 baht = $3.3) or by Baht buses (Songtaew) (20 baht = $0.66). The problem is when you want to leave the place: all drivers will triple their prices. No problem: you can walk by the main street and hail a baht bus.

Don't forget to take your camera!

The Sanctuary of Truth - 206/2 M.5 Naklua, Banglamung, Chonburi, Thailand.

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