21 Dec 2016
There are thousands of temples in Thailand and a lot of them just look very similar to each other with the typical two or three tiers on the roof. But what they started to built up in 1981 at the very northern tip of the Pattaya bay is simply one of the most impressive Thai temples I have seen. This massive 100 m long and 100 m high sacred temple is built all of wood and no cement and metal has been used – not even metal nails.
At a closer look, you will find countless of extremely detailed sculptures based on traditional Buddhist and Hindu motifs. The purpose of using them according to the temple’s official information is to reflect the Ancient Vision of Earth, Ancient Knowledge and Eastern Philosophy. Visitors should understand the ancient life, basic thoughts, cycle of living, life’s relationship with universe, the common goal of life toward utopia and human responsibility.
Even though construction of the Sanctuary of Truth began in 1981, the whole project is still not finished yet. That’s why you’ll see quite a few workers on different sites raising sculptures and making carvings at different corners of the temple. Most of the workers are from Myanmar and Cambodia and the main reason isn’t because the young Thai generation is unskilled in the wood working art but rather because the labor from these countries is exceptionally cheap, they get provided very basic accommodation in worker’s camps and receive a salary below 6,000 Baht (which is still the standard for like 7-eleven employees, even in Bangkok where the official minimum salary is 9,000 Baht) and they are also working illegally means they don’t have a work permit.
There is a 500 Baht admission fee for entering the temple, children (height between 110 cm and 140 cm) pay 250 Baht. Frankly speaking that’s quite a tourist rip-off. The Sanctuary of Truth isn’t of much cultural and none historical significance at all. I never paid so much for a temple anywhere else in Thailand, it’s even more expensive than the ancient town of Sukhothai (100 Baht for each of the four zones) and similar priced like the Grand Palace in Bangkok (500 Baht). What surprised me is that Thai people are asked to pay the same admission fees as foreigners. There are a few other packages available at the ticket booth right at the entrance of the temple’s park premises such as a boat tour on the ocean offering fine views and including entrance to the Sanctuary of Truth for 700 Baht.
There is no public songthaew (pick up) service from downtown Pattaya to the Sanctuary of Truth in North Pattaya. You have to arrange the transport by yourself and a motorcycle taxi from the Central Festival shopping mall will cost 100 Baht one way, from the northern end of Pattaya Beach it’s 80 Baht one way. You can also arrange a car taxi from most hotels or the taxi booths and the fare is 150-200 Baht one way or 200-300 Baht return depending on your negotiation skills.