SANCTUARY OF TRUTH

This is a spectacular beach front wooden temple of around 105 metres high, entirely hand crafted with intricate wooden carved sculptures based on traditional Hindu and Buddhist motifs. The official website describes the purpose of the construction to use art and culture as "a reflection of the Ancient Vision of Earth, Ancient Knowledge, and Eastern Philosophy. Within this complex, visitors will understand Ancient Life, Human Responsibility, Basic Thought, Cycle of living, Life Relationship with Universe and Common Goal of Life toward Utopia."

The building began construction in 1981, and is not expected to be complete until 2025 at the earliest; and is the concept of the late Thai millionaire businessman, Lek Viriyaphant, whose other cultural projects included the Erawan Museum and Ancient City, near Bangkok. The temple has been constructed to withstand the weather elements, however the exposure to the tropical climate and sea air means that some parts are replaced before others made; this combination of the natural weathered look and new sculptures with protective finishes applied gives the building a distinctive range of colours and adds to its charm. Being located overlooking the sea in North Pattaya, the temple is in a lovely peaceful, scenic location.

Detailed guided tours of the temple itself and the workshop, where you can see the sculptures being made, take place every 30 minutes, which are mainly in English but other languages are available on request. These are informative tours and interesting to learn construction methods and the meaning behind the various design elements. You are also allowed to explore the site at your leisure with no time limit, giving you ample opportunity to admire the intricate carvings and take advantage of many photo opportunities.

On top of this the Santuary of Truth offers many activities for you to enjoy. There is a small farm area with some small animals that you can pet and feed, a café, shop and a viewing area where you can see the temple and get some fabulous scenic photographs with the temple as a backdrop, before heading down the steps towards the temple itself. You can take many tours around the grounds of the temple; on offer are activities such as horse riding, horse and carriage rides, quad biking, elephant trekking and a speedboat trip to view the temple from the sea. There is also a guided rowing boat trip available in the lake, which allows you to stop off and feed some (small) sharks!

There is a traditional Thai culture show twice a day in front of the main building, where you are treated to some traditional Thai dancing with traditional costumes, and a Thai boxing demonstration.

Visitors are required to wear hard hats (provided on site) to enter the temple as work is continuously undertaken inside and out, and to wear clothes that cover knees and shoulders because, although not a traditional Thai temple, the building is religious and does contain some Buddha images.

A visit here provides plenty of great opportunities to take some spectacular photographs and will be a memorable experience.