Whilst in Pattaya, it was suggested a visit to the Sanctuary of Truth would be worthwhile. Although, after spending so much time seeing temples for the previous few months (and just getting back from Myanmar) we weren't incredibly enthralled by the idea of seeing more of them.
However, given the lack of other things in Pattaya to see and the positive tips we'd been given, we went along for the day to check it out. And I have to say, it was definitely worthwhile!
The building itself, clocks in at almost 400 feet high which in terms of Pattaya's modern skyline, doesn't sound at all like much. But given the Temple has been built entirely out of wood (including what's holding it all together) is a pretty incredible accomplishment.
Entry to the Sanctuary of Truth costs 450 Baht (roughly £9 or $13). You can get a free guided tour as well once you get to the Temple (leaving a small tip of 50-100 baht per person is adequate). The tour will walk you through how the building has been created by hand carving massive pieces of Teak wood.
The workers are all mostly Burmese, along with the wood which has come from ancient teak forests in Myanmar and Cambodia (At least it's not just being made into paper!).
It's an incredible structure and well worth seeing and marvelling over the time and attention to detail that has been put into it. The project to build the temple started in the early 1980's and the Temple won't be finished until sometime in 2025. Which means it would have taken almost 45 years when complete.. And even then, it will continually need parts replacing forever, due to sea winds and general ageing.
Unfortunately the founder won't be around to see it's completion, Lek Viriyaphant who started the project sadly passed away in 2000. He was known throughout Thailand as an eccentric millionaire and was involved in many other projects, such as the Erawan Museum and the Ancient Siam Miniature Park.
There are a lot of quotes from Lek dotted around the Temple and a few fun facts you can find. For example, using the ‘Perpetual Calendar' you can find out from your birth date what planet you represent, and some words of wisdom you can choose to believe or not.
One of my best take-homes from seeing The Sanctuary of Truth, is a life mantra that was written on a plaque. I liked what it was trying to say about life in general and the greater reason for humanity..
This work indicates that humans are only dust in the universe and will ultimately become one with it.
Physical beings deteriorate, ravaged by the time, but truth and goodness are immortal.
Materialistic pleasure is a superficial physical and external joy. True happiness is found in intrinsic spiritual pleasure.
Ideals make human life more meaningful. Determination to go to the ideal world is something desired by all men.
Every belief, every religion and every philosophy leads there by different paths.
To ponder the great questions of heaven and earth and yet live for humanity, to study and teach the sublime knowledge of scholar of the past, and to create eternal peace for all mankind, this is the true goal and the knowledge great men strive to achieve.
If you are travelling through Pattaya, definitely make sure you stop by at The Sanctuary of Truth!
A few more pictures!