In our armchair travels we were just visiting The Philippines. Traveling this way it is so simple and easy to decide where to go next by simply looking at a map. While we’re on this side of the world I decided it might be interesting to take a look at some of the other countries nearby. So today we’re going to take a look at an interesting and vibrant city in Thailand. In the 1960s Pattaya was a quiet fishing village. Today it has changed drastically and now has become a popular tourist destination with many resort hotels, high-rise condos and many beautiful beaches.
Satchatham Temple or The Sanctuary of Truth is a wooden temple by the sea. It was designed by Lek Wiriyapan, the founder of the Ancient City at Samu Prakan Province in 1981. This temple is entirely built of wood. There are many wonderful wood dwellings and woodcarvings. The artwork and woodcarvings reflect the intellect and spirit of Eastern civilization and its art. The temple received the Outstanding Tourist Attraction Award in 2008.
Mini Siam will delight you with miniature replicas of important places and historical sites from all around the globe. Kasem Kasemkiartisakul had the idea to build it in 1986 and all of the replicas are at the ratio of 1:25 of the originals. On display here you can see the Phra Sri Rattanasasadarm Temple, the Victory Monument, the Bridge over the River Kwae, Phraram 9 Bridge and the Phimai Stone Sanctuary. There are also miniatures of famous European and American sites like the Eiffel Tower, the Tower Bridge, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon.
If you would like to see art in a bottle visit The Bottle Art Museum. Artist Peter Bedelais has created more than 300 amazing miniature artworks placed in bottles. You can see Buddha images, Thai houses, windmills and even Chinese palaces.
Visit the amazing Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, where you can see exotic and unusual items from all over the world. The displays are divided into 10 individual themes among them such oddities like horses with three legs and a replica of the Titanic made out of a million matchsticks. The museum also offer the Motion Master Theater with flight simulator technology.
Right in the heart of South Pattaya is the Wat Chai Mongkhon temple, dating from 1937. It has a prayer hall with a Chinnarat Buddha image and Chai Mongkhon Buddha image from the Sukhothai Period, aged over 350 years. There is also the Hall of 3-era Buddha, a pagoda built of ores from Ko Lan, a prayer hall that is home to a large Buddha with a lap spaning 49 inches and is 160 inches high. The hall has lovely mural paintings.
A museum popular with tourists is the Anek Kusala Sala which displays over 300 amazing pieces of Chinese artwork like bronze and brass statues that depict historical figures as well as Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist deities. It was founded by Sanga Kulkobkiat, a Thai national, who grew up in China. The museum was intended as a friendship building project between the two countries. The first floor is home to Chinese immortals, from Pangu, the cosmic giant, to Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. The second floor terrace has larger-than-life sized statues of Shaolin monks in different martial-arts poses. There is also a collection of daily life statues – a fortune teller, dress maker, liquor seller – upon which visitors place 1B coins.
Wang Sam Sien monument is located on the way to the Big Buddha on Pratumnak Hill. You are welcomed by a white statue of Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. Near the statue is a large metal ball, just like the one in the Royal Palace in Beijing, China. It is like a small museum with many Chinese items like 24 lovely paintings that tell stories from Chinese folklore. There is also a small restaurant on the premises.
Pratumnak Hill is located at the border of South Pattaya and Jomtien. At the top of the hill you can get a panoramic view overlooking the crescent bay of Pattaya. It is a spot popular with tourists especially at sunset and at night when the city is all lit up. Here you will find a giant Buddha statue, the monument of Krom Luang Chumphon Khet Udomsak, the founding father of the modern Thai Navy and the Thai Navy’s radio station. At the foot of the hill is a public park.
Wat Khao Phra Bat Temple is near the hill and has an imitation of the Buddah’s footprint, Buddha images of the Day and lovely mondop.
Sriracha Tiger Zoo has the largest number of Bengal tigers, bred successfully by the farm. There are some other animals too like crocodiles, ostriches, single hump camels, kangaroos and an aviary of exotic birds. They offer exciting shows such as Crocodile Wrestling, Kenya aerobics, Amazing Circus and Pig Racing. It is home to more than 200 tigers living in a lovely natural environment about 30 km from Pattaya. Other things that draw tourist are a Scorpion Queen with poisonous scorpions on her presence and the Crocodile Egg Breaking Festival from May to August.
Visit the gentle giants at The Elephant Village. This is run by a private company on a non-profit making basis with proceeds that go toward feeding and taking care of the elephants. All the elephants have a safe haven to live their lives in peace. The village was opened in 1973 as a sanctuary for former working elephants. These elephants due to illness or injury can no longer do the heavy work required of them in the jungles of Thailand. There are also elephant rides available. You can walk about and see the elephants going about their daily lives in a natural environment. Tourists enjoy the elephant shows which offer them a look into the lives of the elephants but none of the animals are ill-treated or abused. They do what comes naturally to them.
A 15-minute drive from Pattaya will take you to the Million Year Stone Park and Crocodile Farm. Here you’ll find thousands of crocodiles, both saltwater and freshwater living in shady and natural surroundings. There is the giant catfish, the biggest freshwater fish of the world weighing up to 500 kg. A shoal of snakehead fish of the Amazon River. There is an albino bear and other albino animals among them tigers, horses, cows and crocodiles. Birds such as Eastern Sarus Cranes, emus, cassowaries and more than 20 ostriches.
Visit the lovely, landscaped park Nong Nooch Garden. It has been set up like a theme park and offers daily cultural shows. There are individual themed gardens, restaurants and accommodation as well. You can stroll through the grounds and see a 17th century French garden, Stonehenge or a European Renaissance garden. You can walk about or rent a bike to see so much more. In the orchid nurseries are over 670 native species and hybrids. It is the largest collection in the country.
The French garden has a symmetrical design and the manicured shrubs were modeled after the garden of Versailles. There a an amazing skywalk, a shaded 1.1km elevated walkway that will take you through the topiary garden. European garden, tropical palm garden, butterfly hill and Stonehenge garden. Daily shows are held at the Thai Cultural Hall. You can enjoy classical Thai dance, Muay Thai or ancient drum performance as well as elephant talent shows. Other activities available are paddle boats, elephant rides and cycling.
Covering an amazing 100,000 sqm area is the Four Regions Floating Market. It has been divided into four sections – each representing and selling items from the four major parts of Thailand (north, northeast, central and south). There are many eateries, fruit stalls, souvenir shops and some art galleries. Every afternoon a cultural show is offered. This 350 million baht market has more than 114 shops and water vendors all selling authentic Thai food and specialties from all over the country. You can hire a man-powered boat to get around and see some of the impressive Thai architecture and get a look are riverside life. The boats are big enough for four people. You can also walk through hundreds of wooden houses that have been built in different styles of the four regions. You can also enjoy the wood-carving museum that displays wonderful carved images, the sunflower and agricultural demonstration fields and a daily free show featuring four cultural performances.
For an exciting and different kind of art gallery head for Art in Paradise. This art gallery has three-dimensional paintings that are interactive. There are stunning images that make you think animals are coming right at you, you can take pictures of you and your friends smashing through walls or balancing over waterfalls and so much more. The gallery has more then 100 individual art pieces in then themed sections. The idea here is to have lots of fun and take plenty of fascinating pictures.
Jomtien Beach is a straight 6 km sand beach located about 2 km from South Pattaya and 4 km from Pattaya City. It is a great spot for rest and relaxation and a popular destination for both tourists and residents.
Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden features religious sculptures, large and small ghastly figures that display the suffering and punishment after death if in life you did bad deeds. It was created by the Venerable Phothisatto Foundation to remind people to keep high moral standards and the faith in the Lord Buddha’s law of cause and effect. On the other side, the Land of Buddhism features the Lord Buddha at birth. There is a literature zone that features Phra Abhai Mani, the masterpiece story of Soonthorn Phu, a great poet in the reign of Rattanakosin. There are also figures of deities in other religions.
Khao Sam Muk is a small hill. At the foot of the hill is the holy shrine of Chao Mae Sam Muk. This is the place locals visit to commemorate the legend of lovers who ended their lives tragically after vowing their eternal love for each other in the 18th century. The shrine is accessible by mountain road. At the top you get a panoramic view over the Ang Sila, Laem Thaen and Bang Saen Bays. This is one of the best spots to watch the sunset. The area is also home to a number of wild monkeys and there is a lovely cactus garden.
Bangsaen Institute of Marine Science (BIMS) is a part of Burapha University. It is a marine science institute and museum. The museum is divided into three sections – Marine Aquarium, Marine Science Museum and Marine Science Laboratories. There is a breeding pond, an aquarium with a large collection of fish, crustaceans and marine plants mostly from Thailand. There are also exhibitions of fishery tools in the exhibition hall.