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Truth be told, a trip to the Sanctuary of Truth is a must do when visiting Pattaya.
A world away from the other ‘attractions’ of Pattaya, The Sanctuary of Truth is an iconic (and still to be finished) temple located on a quiet beach with other onsite activities.
The Sanctuary of Truth started to be built in 1981 and is the largest wooden temple in the whole of Thailand. In fact, there isn’t a single metal fastening in the whole structure and is a superb showcase of traditional Thai wooden carving skills.
A peaceful respite away from the hustle and bustle of Pattaya, here is our guide to visiting the Sanctuary of Truth Museum in Thailand.
Table of Contents
Sanctuary of Truth Entrance Fee / Admission
The Sanctuary of Truth museum and temple charges an admission fee to enter the grounds. This also includes a guided tour of the Sanctuary of Truth (visitors to the temple must be escorted).
The Sanctuary of Truth museum / temple fee is 500 Baht per adult and 250 Baht per child on the door (if you do not purchase your tickets in advance). This is approx $14.50 / £12 / 13 Euros per adult. Prices correct as at March 2023.
Sanctuary of Truth Tickets in Advance
You can save money on the Sanctuary of Truth entrance fee if you book your tickets in advance.
For instance, you can save around a third and get tickets for around 350 THB / $10 / £8.50 if you purchase your Sanctuary of Truth tickets before you visit using this booking link.
This also saves you having to face the lengthy queue at the ticket gates – you simply exchange your QR code for a paper ticket at the front desk.
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Dress Appropriately / Hard Hats
As with most Thai temples and places of worship, you are asked to dress appropriately when visiting the Sanctuary of Truth. This means women need to cover their shoulders and men also need to wear shorts that cover the knees (the latter seemed less enforced).
At the entrance where all guided tours begin, you are able to hire shawls and items of clothing should you have forgotten to bring your own.
Given the Sanctuary of Truth is still under construction, a condition of entry is that you must wear a hard-hat whilst in and around the temple itself. A hard hat is provided as part of your entrance fee and guided tour.
History and Philosophy
The Sanctuary of Truth is indeed a very impressive and remarkable site to visit. It is a huge 109 metre tall wooden sanctuary which begun construction in 1981 by Lek Viriyapha and it still remains under construction to this day.
One of the very first things you see on your guided tour is the sheer number of apprentices and carpenters still hard at work chiselling and carving wooden pieces to go into the temple.
The Sanctuary of Truth is a cross between a religious temple and a castle with Buddhist and Hindu stylings and motifs. Inside the museum, there are thousands of wooden carvings which reflect art, culture and the nature of human life.
The ethos behind the wooden temple is that many skills will soon start to disappear due to technology and mechanisation and that such traditional skills should be preserved and passed on from one generation to another. The temple itself as a hand carved sculpture communicates to future generations about how we can still live in peace by communicating through art.
The Sanctuary of Truth location on the beach has also been chosen as a point where the ‘…sky meets the sea’. The setting here is stunning, like no other temple you’ve visited.
To visit the Sanctuary of Truth, once you’ve purchased or picked up your entrance ticket, you make your way to the main entrance. You can only visit the temple as part of a guided tour (we hadn’t realised this until we arrived).
There are regular guided tours in several languages including Thai, Korean, Russian and English. As we had just missed the previous English speaking tour by a couple of minutes, we had to mull around the entrance for a further 30 minutes until the next English tour began.
When you are first given your entrance tickets at the main gate, staff will write a time on your ticket – this is the time of your guided tour. You also need to wear a sticker they give you plus a hard-hat, given building work is still underway at the temple.
Whilst we waited for our guided tour to start, we had plenty of time to enjoy the viewpoint at the top of the hill looking out over the looming Sanctuary of Truth temple.
The dark wooden temple / castle looks incredible from afar and given its beachside setting with tropical blue waters, is such a serene and stunning look-out.
Weirdly, as we waited to take our guided tour, we started to spot other attractions at the site including a hilltop restaurant plus a goat feeding stand!
Visiting the Temple
The start of the guided tour takes you through a workshop where young people are shown carving and chiselling pieces to go into the still to be completed temple structure.
Here you can also see a scale model of what the finished wooden temple will look like – it is hoped that it will be finished this decade (builder’s estimates eh!).
You are then given a tour of the exterior of the temple before being taken inside. We found it incredibly hard to hear what our tour guide was saying over the noise of building work and other competing tour guides so we can’t actually tell you what she said – but the carvings inside and out were very impressive.
Walking around the temple inside, you first start to get a sense of all the work and craftsmanship that has gone into the Sanctuary of Truth over the last four decades. Just looking up into the 100 metre high ceiling, you spot so many intricate and ornate details.
Plus all around you as you look through the temple windows, you see postcard perfect pictures of the coast and beach – this has to be one of the most stunning and serene temple locations in the whole of Thailand.
Other Sanctuary of Truth Activities
Once we’d finished the guided tour of the Sanctuary of Truth Museum, we were allowed to explore the rest of the grounds freely at our leisure.
Basically, other than a nice rest area looking out over the pond, the other things to do at the Sanctuary of Truth are all designed to part you with your money, which we thought was funny / ironic given some of the writings on the wall said we shouldn’t worry about material things or money – as they clearly did!
Activities included rowing boat hire for 300 THB, feeding the fish for 30 THB, horse carriage rides, and worst of all, riding an elephant. We were sickened to see several willing participants queuing to ride on the weary looking elephant. This really needs to stop and there is no place in modern tourism for elephant riding.
You can also eat and drink in a couple of on-site cafes and restaurants (plus an ice-cream kiosk) – prices were reasonable for food and drink.
Sanctuary of Truth Opening Hours
The Sanctuary of Truth is open seven days a week from 9am to 6pm.
Guided Tour Schedule
You can only visit the temple via guided tour.
The English speaking guided tour schedule times are as follows:
9.10am, 10.10am, 10.40am 11.20am, 11.40am, 12.10pm, 12.40pm, 1.10pm, 1.40pm, 2.20pm, 2.40pm, 3.10pm, 3.40pm, 4.20pm, 5pm.
Sanctuary of Truth Final Thoughts
Given Pattaya is primarily known for its beaches and ‘night-life’, this sublime and stunning temple is easily one of the best and most interesting things to do in Pattaya.
The beachside setting is incredible and to see all the carvings up close plus the huge temple from afar is unforgettable.
However, the ‘awful truth’ about the Sanctuary of Truth is despite inscriptions about there being no need for money or materials objects in the world, they are very keen to part you from yours.
We weren’t aware of all the activities like elephant riding before we arrived so we probably wouldn’t return again until they are removed.
The Sanctuary of Truth, 206/2 Moo 5, Pattaya-Naklua Road, Banglamung, Chonburi 20150
Most people arrived at the Sanctuary of Truth either as part of a guided tour or via the temple’s own shuttle vans.
Songthaews (hop on hop off trucks with seating in the back) are widely used in Pattaya. Alternatively Grab taxis are widely used in Pattaya.
We stayed at the Pattaya Z Through By the Zign poolside villas hotel which was a ten minute walk from the Sanctuary of Truth.
See the Sanctuary of Truth For Free
It doesn’t cost a lot to take a guided tour of the Sanctuary of Truth (especially if you book online in advance here and get discounted tickets).
However, we found the best view (for free) of the Sanctuary of Truth was actually from a neighbouring beach.
We stayed at the Z Through By The Zign Hotel near the Sanctuary of Truth, and used to walk along the beach by Garden Sea View Resort. The beach here (and the restaurant Aqua Beach) offer stunning views of the Sanctuary of Truth, especially at sunset. You’re welcome!
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