ThailandPattaya $$$$$ All Year Mostly Outdoor
Cultural

Sanctuary of Truth

A majestic, castle-like wooden temple seemingly floating above the sea at the Ratchavete Cape beachfront. Every inch of the 105-metre (344.5-feet) high structure is decorated with intricate carvings of stories from Thai folklore. Most tales depicted are rooted in Buddhism and Hinduism, but aim to portray the idea that all religions point to one truth, reached by different paths, and the universal goal of eternal peace.

Standing tall between the raw ocean and a man-made lake, the Sanctuary of Truth possesses a rare atmosphere of tranquility. A fine example of man's ability to craft natural materials, the structure is entirely made from untreated wood, held together by a series of wooden pins, wedges, slots, and grooves without a single metal nail. The combination of tropical climate and sea salt means the exquisite temple is the constant victim of rot and decay, and construction activities to repair and expand the wooden structure are never-ending.

Surprisingly, considering the Sanctuary of Truth's strong spiritual message, a mish-mash of unlikely activities are available within the complex, ranging from baby animal feeding and elephant trekking to an ATV course and shooting range.

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Price

Adult: ฿500 (USD$15.78), Child: ฿250 ($7.89)

Buy tickets...

Time Spent

1-3hours

Fitness level: Light effort

Hours

8am-5pm7 days

Look Around

Pathway to the temple structurePathway to the temple structure
Front entranceFront entrance
Construction in progressConstruction in progress
Newly installed wood awaiting carvingNewly installed wood awaiting carving
Detailed carving near front entranceDetailed carving near front entrance
Outside the Sanctuary of Truth
external depictions of folklore storiesexternal depictions of folklore stories
Internal depictions of folklore storiesInternal depictions of folklore stories
Folklore stories depicted in carvings
Intricate carving inside the sanctuaryIntricate carving inside the sanctuary
Main hallMain hall
Detailed carvingsDetailed carvings
Central temple for offeringsCentral temple for offerings
workers installing new wooden piecesworkers installing new wooden pieces
Inside the Sanctuary of Truth

Who Will Like Sanctuary of Truth

Culture Buff

Wander through the Sanctuary of Truth and glean insight from the skillfully carved folklore stories. Try to identify tributes to seven elements man cannot exist without: Heaven, Earth, Father, Mother, Moon, Sun and Stars. On your way out, visit the workshop to watch locals hard at work creating wooden masterpieces to add to the structure.

Nature Lover

Stroll through the lush, greenery-lined pathways to reach the seafront temple and soak up the serene atmosphere. Before leaving, feed some baby animals or hire a paddle boat to float along the large lake.

Bucketlist Bandit

Take a selfie in-front of the must-see Sanctuary of Truth, then try some other activities within the complex, like horse-riding or a lap on the ATV course.

Photography Whiz

Soak up the intricate carved masterpieces from every angle of the towering structure. Choose to capture the pieces you feel tell the best stories. Don't forget to take a few overarching shots from the elevated walkway as you make your way closer to the temple from the main entrance.

Thrill Seeker

Feel the wind in your hair as you whizz around the ATV course on a four-wheeler motorbike.

Fun Expert

Spend a day out with your family starting with feeding baby animals or a horse ride, then let your kids play on the playgrounds as you make your way down to the Sanctuary of Truth. After your visit, take a paddle boat across the lake and watch a live dance or music show near the restaurant.

Insider Tips For Sanctuary of Truth

  • Tickets can be bought from a stand near the parking area or booked online in advance.
  • Shoulders and knees must be covered to enter the temple. Those dressed inappropriately can hire a sarong for a ฿200 (USD$6.31) deposit, returned when the clothing is returned.
  • A workshop is located near the temple exit where you can watch artisans skillfully carving pieces of wood for the temple. A small souvenir shop is attached where miniature carvings can be purchased.
  • As construction activities are constantly underway, visitors must wear hard-hats while walking in and around the wooden structure. Hard-hats can be borrowed from a large container outside the temple.
  • Rideshare drivers like Grab will drop visitors off but are prohibited from picking up by the local taxi monopoly. These taxis do not have meters and usually charge an inflated fixed price so bring your best bargaining skills to secure a reasonable fare.
Goat feeding opportunities near entranceGoat feeding opportunities near entrance
Goat near temple structureGoat near temple structure
Gong near temple structureGong near temple structure
Activities within complex
Early stages of carvingEarly stages of carving
Nail-free construction techniquesNail-free construction techniques
Detailed carving - larger pieceDetailed carving - larger piece
Detailed carving - smaller pieceDetailed carving - smaller piece
Wooden carving in workshop area near exit

Video

Where Is It

Muang Pattaya, Amphoe Bang Lamung, Chang Wat Chon Buri 20150

Open map...

How To Get There

Taxi

Drivers pick up and drop off in main car park.

Map for taxi...

Car

Private drivers will wait in the main car park.

Driving directions... Map for car...

Rideshare

Drivers can drop off in the main car park but are unable to pick passengers up. Take a taxi for the return journey.

Map for rideshare...

Songthaew

Take the Songthaew from the north end of the dolphin roundabout along Pattaya-Naklua Road, and press the buzzer to get off at the entrance to Soi 12. Then walk 15-minutes northwest to the Sanctuary of Truth, following signposts.

Map for songthaew...

What To Bring

Do:
  • Loose, lightweight clothing that covers shoulders and knees.
  • Cash for activities like animal feeding.
  • Water bottle.
Don't:
  • Large belongings that are difficult to carry.

Tech & Photography

Wifi

Public wifi access: None

Photography

Photography allowed: Yesflash is ok

Tripod allowed: Yes

Selfie sticks allowed: Yes

Best time to shoot: Early Morning

Tips: Frame the temple with natural shrubbery as you walk down the path from the carpark. Due to the large size, capturing the full temple up close is challenging and the perspective from looking up skews the proportions, so it's best to capture the whole scene from further away. Once you're up close, use a zoom lens to capture the intricate carving details. During the middle of the day, the bright sky can cause the darker details to be lost - so try capturing bracketed exposures and merge later using HDR software such as Lightroom.

Drones

Drones allowed: Not encouraged

Bags

Backpacks allowed: Yes

Secured bag lockers available: No

Food & Drink

Na Klua Restaurant - Indoor and outdoor seating with views of the wooden temple. Serves mostly Thai and seafood cuisine with several halal options.

Backstory

The Sanctuary of Truth was founded and designed by Mr Lek Viriyahphan, with construction commencing in 1981 during the reign of King Rama IX. Through construction of the magnificent temple, Mr Viriyahphan aimed to convey the importance of religious philosophies in promoting sustainability and teaching people to do good and avoid bad. The structure is made solely from local hardwood using traditional Thai wood-joining techniques.

The temple stretches 100m north to south, and 100m east to west, with each of the 4 internal wings portraying a unique meaning through its wooden carvings. The Eastern Hall features sculptures of Father and Mother and represents gratitude while the Western Hall represents the 4 elements with carvings representing wind, fire, earth, and water. The Northern Hall depicts Taoist and Confucian principals reflecting supreme morality, and the Sothern Hall features carvings representing the sun, moon, and planets. The 4 wings are connected by a central hall with a 4-sided wooden door symbolizing the 4 Noble Truths and a great throne, said to symbolize the center of the universe.

Tribute to the late KingTribute to the late King
pattaya_sanctuary-of-truth-08269.jpg
Tribute to the King & royal headdresses

Etiquette

Pros:
  • Dress respectfully with covered shoulders and knees.
  • Wear a hard hat while in and around the wooden structure.
Cons:
  • Interrupt or get in the way of construction workers.
Always wear a hard hat

Scorecard

Best Parts:
  • Intricate details carved into the wooden structure.
  • Religious significance and unique message.
  • Workshop to see Thai artisans creating exquisite carvings.
  • Natural beauty of ocean and greenery surrounding the site.
  • Additional activities to make a full day out.
Could Be Better:
  • Expensive tickets compared to other temples in Thailand.
  • Requirement to wear hard hat because of construction activities.
  • Distance of temple from carpark. May be difficult for visitors with low fitness levels or mobility difficulties.
  • Unusual combination of activities like horse riding and ATVs that have no relevance to the spiritual focus of the temple.
  • Taxi mafia prohibit rideshare drivers from picking up passengers.
My itinerary Save View

Oh, you're so close

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Joining only takes a minute and it's... um... free! Plus you get other perks like badges, points, and unicorns.

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