Pattaya maybe Thailand’s self-proclaimed “extreme” city but there are cultural attractions to see while enjoying the extremes in Pattaya. Take a look at the attractions below, use the Google map at the bottom of the page and plan you cultural trip.
Wat Yansangwararam or Wat Yan, as the locals like to call this temple area, is a beautifully maintained garden and temple under the king's patronage whcih is used to hold meditation courses for common men. The temple is located about 12 kilometers south of Pattaya. Also nearby is a chinese-style building called "Wiharn Xian Museum" housing antiques and art objects from China. This temple is fairly unique for it's modern Thai architecture.
The temple complex stands on approximately 150 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. On the temple grounds a wide variety of architectural styles and structures along with a wide variety of art styles are found in the statues throughout the grounds.
On the hill over looking the temple is the Phra Maha Mondop Phutthabat which contains a Sacred Buddha FootPrint. The shrine is part of Wat Yan but is approximately 1 kilometer to the southwest. The hill has a great view which extends all the way to the Thai Gulf.
Khao Chi Chan Buddha Sculpture is a sitting Buddha image that is engraved into the northern cliff face of Khao Chi Chan, a rocky hill about 30 kilometers south of Pattaya. The limestone hill was used to supply the local construction industry with materials. The image was commemorated in 1996, to honor His Majesty the King of Thailand’s golden jubilee. The sculpture is 109-metre-tall and 70-metre-wide image was carved into the limestone rock and then marked out in gold plates.
The sculpture had an unique method of construction as the image was initially designed using computer software. Then a laser was used to draw the image on the side on the cliff face. This portion was performed entirely at night so the laser could be clearly seen. During the day, the workers added the gold panels. The gold panels can be clearly seen on close inspection through binoculars or a good zoom camera.
The islands of the Thai Gulf are renowned for their clear waters, relaxing atmosphere and great Thai food. I have organized my Gulf Island Blogs here to make it easy for you to explore the islands!
Koh Chang, the name meaning "elephant Island", is the largest of Thailand's Gulf Island and located on the eastern side of the Thai Gulf near Cambodia and off the coast of Thailand's Trat Province. Once in Trat it is just a one hour ferry ride to the island, which allows you to bring you car with you to better allow you to explore the huge island.
The interior of the island is mostly part of Thailand's National Park System. The interior is full of amazing tropical forest that you can explore that include amazing waterfalls and tropical life not seen in the western world. There are also areas for the brave explorer to dangle from ropes in the tropical canopy, safely with a qualified instructor. There are also areas that you can ride the Thai jungle elephant through the forest.
The coast of Koh Chang is full of pockets of white sand beaches which beckon you to relax in the warm waters of the Thai Gulf. The beaches are mostly on the western side of the island. The waters around the island, which are rich in sea life, are also great for Scuba diving and snorkeling.
One of the best things to explore is the fresh seafood in one of many awesome restaurants on the island, Thai style of course.
Ko Sichang is a small island in the Gulf of Thailand of the coast of Laem Chabang about 30 minutes drive north of the city of Pattaya. The island is surrounded by deep water and is within Thailand's shipping lanes and many ships make it a convenient anchorage tp transfer their cargos to lighter barges for the trip up the Chao Phraya river to Bangkok. The deep waters make the beaches not as enjoyable as those on islands in the Thai Gulf.
However, Ko Si Chang makes a nice weekend outing for tourists with a special interest in Thai history. Tourists can explore the remains of a former royal palace which was built as a summer retreat for King Chulalongkorn which has been maintained as a museum. There are also several places of religious interest to explore while on the island.
Koh Phai is located off the coast of Pattaya in the Thai Gulf another 5 or 10 kilometers. The island is quite remote and therefore quite quiet if you want to get further away from the hustle and bustle of Pattaya and a bit more removed than Koh Larn. The island is controlled by the Thai military further controlling the access to the island. Access to the island is by ferry from Pattaya, taking about 45 minutes, another 15 minutes past Koh Lan. For a quiet relaxing day at a quiet beach, Koh Phai comes highly recommended.
Thailand has an extended rainy season, ranging from May to November. If you can not avoid traveling to Thailand in the rainy season I have a recommendation for you - Scuba Diving in the Thai Gulf. I was recently on Koh Tao, and it rained all week. A tropical storm came in to the Gulf and there was 5 consecutive days of rain. That didn't stop me from enjoying myself - I got my open water scuba diving certification. While the water was churning above me from the tropical rains I was in an underwater paradise. A really great experience.
Koh Tao is a great place to start with over 60 diving shops, most offering diving trips around the island and the various certifications for underwater diving.
I got my certification through Golden Divers, Dive Shop. They did a great job with friendly instructors, making the experience all the better!
The Sanctuary of Truth is a teak temple under construction in the northern end of Pattaya. The teak temple rises a reported 105 metres above the beach and is carved entirely out of teak wood, The Sanctuary of Truth was conceived by the ambitious business tycoon who also commissioned the construction of the Erawan Museum and The Ancient City (Muang Boran) both on the outskirts of Bangkok. It is not a temple but a fusion of “Eastern Philosophy'.
In their Sattahip facility, south of Pattaya and within Chon Buri Province (about 160 km southeast of Bangkok), the Royal Thai Navy operates a Sea Turtle Conservation Center. The center is on the shores of Ao Dong Tan (beach area on the Thai Gulf). The facility employs a number of full-time staff to operate the facility fulltime which serves the purpose of public education as well as captive-rearing and release of turtle hatchlings and the care of sick or injured turtles until they can be released back into the open waters of the Gulf.
The center primary goals are to provide education on conservation and the value of natural resources in the Thai Gulf. The center also conducts research into turtle behaviour and serves as a breeding center for green turtles and hawksbill turtles.
Hatchings are raised and kept for public display in a series of shaded tanks. Each tank holds turtles of different ages. The Center has holds periodic ceremonial releases of sea turtles old enough to survive on their own in the wild. The releases have attracted a lot of media attendtion in the past. While I was at the center I learned the turtles are released two important time of the year, around the Queen’s birthday (August 12th) and the Kings birthday (December 5th). For Exact release dates I advice you contact the center directly (contact information found in their Facebook Page) and plan ahead to participate in this important event.
Here is a Web link with more information.
Here is a YouTube compilation of photos and videos that i took at the conservation center.
Gulf of Thailand
Great destinations in the Gulf of Thailand area. Click here to view a list of Articles about Destinations in the Thai Gulf.
Islands of the Thai Gulf
Bangkok's 9 Royal Temples
Bangkok Must Sees
Exploring Thailand's Nature
Thailand's Royal Palaces
Thailand and World War 2
Explore Chiang Rai
Explore Chiang Mai