The Sanctuary Of Truth

I have lived in Thailand for six months as I write this and had often thought about visiting this very popular tourist attraction, which is situated in the Naklua area or Pattaya, a few miles north of me.

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In fact I set out one day to attend but got lost and distracted, which resulting in me spending that day browsing markets in North Pattaya. My knowledge of the city has grown somewhat since that day.

My girlfriend is currently in Roi Et visiting her family but I decided to opt out this time and remain in Pattaya. We have never spent a day apart in the four months of knowing each other, so I was looking forward to the break and some freedom. I dare say, she was feeling the same but for me it was a mistake. I was lost without her and had to occupy my mind. So “The Sanctuary of Truth” sprung to mind and the photos are the result of a two part day of photography.

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So what is The Sanctuary of Truth? Well the first thing that is noticeable is the building is completely made of wood and despite it’s ancient appearance, it is the genius of modern craftsmen and designers.

The toil to construct this work of art began in 1981 and is not due to be completed until 2050. Upon arrival, I was presented with a hard hat to place on my head, which I believed was because they were doing maintenance work to protect the old sculptures or for underfoot or overhead improvements, when in actual fact, it is because they are still creating this masterpiece.

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Do not let its lack of history deter you from visiting though. This is a true jewel and a must see.

The Sanctuary is not easy to get to if you do not have transport, although his is not an issue. I began from central Pattaya and jumped on one of the many Baht Buses, who took me there for 150 Baht. This was not a route bus but a private hire version. The fare equates to under £3 for a 7 km journey.

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There are many other options such as Taxi Cars, Taxi Motorbikes or organised tours although the latter may cost you around 500 to 1500 Baht, depending on what they offer. I prefer to meander around tourist attractions at my own pace, hence I usually find my own way to and from locations of interest.

Anyway – continuing with what is it? The Sculptures, and there are many to view, are based on traditional Buddhist and Hindu motifs. At its tallest point it is 101 metres high and as stated earlier, it features contemporary but traditional religious art themes.

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It is based on Kymer architecture, which derives from the 8th to the 15th century, typically from the imperial setting at Angkor. The carvings and creations represent the four nations of Cambodia, China, India and Thailand.

Now you may have guessed I am plagiarising this information from other sources so I must credit the official website and Wikipedia for the information.

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So other than peruse the beautiful creative carvings what else is there on offer?

Well when you arrive, you have to pay 500 Baht at the time of writing to enter. From the ticket office there is a short walk, which will take you passed areas where they rest the horses and elephants, which are used for transporting tourist, should you wish to be conveyed in this way. There are also horse drawn carriages to be hired.

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Again I prefered to use my feet and take my time, moving off the beaten track to obtain the views I was seeking.

There are rope bridges and geese to see on the route towards the temple and a mini zoo. I also noticed a shooting gallery but this was not in use when I was present. You traverse down a rock based path to where you will be issued with a hard safety helmet that you must wear in and around the building.

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There are a number of wonderful viewpoints as you close in on the main attraction, including a photography point near the waterway. This is where the hired photographers take their images of couples or families enjoying a boat ride. Some looked very romantic, so if you are in love and on honeymoon or celebrating an anniversary, this location and setting should offer a delightful image to capture your experience.

Tour guides will escort you around and they speak Russian and English but I would assume there is a number of languages on offer. Once more, I declined so I could create my own route.

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Add to this a dancing show, with the dancers in traditional outfits. This is in conjunction with a mock fighting exhibition, a tongue in cheek approach to dueling, where they will involve at least one member of the the public.

I mention the boat trips but you can also purchase food to feed the fish when you are out on the water.

There are a number of refreshment and eating areas, which is a necessity due to the intense heat and humidity inside the temple. Prices for drinks etc are acceptable, considering they have a captive audience, unlike many tourist attractions in Europe who triple prices for a beer or ice cream.

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At 10:30 I did partake in a large cold bottle of Leo with a glass and ice, as I endeavoured to cool down, after the iced coffee failed to hit the spot. The beer did the job! Once again, the staff are polite and speak very good English.

There was one thing that annoyed me however and it is not the fault of the temple or staff. Before the dancing began, they had a minutes silence to show respect for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. They requested that everyone stand up and pay homage to the monarch, as 90% of those in attendance observed the invitation.

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There can be no excuse here for they asked in at least three languages and even if you did not understand, it was obvious when 80 odd people are standing with their heads bowed, that something is happening.

But there were six or so imbeciles, who ignored the request and continued talking and taking photos. I will not mention the country of origin of these ignoramuses but most people who visit Thailand will know exactly who I am referring too.

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But that aside, I had a fantastic day, and one that will be remembered for a long time. If you enjoy a quiet ramble with gorgeous scenery, sights to behold then this is the place for you. It does not offer the adventures of a theme park, so do not expect anything of an energetic or boisterous nature or you will be disappointed. This is a peaceful place, offering stunning views and tranquility.

I haven’t spent any time explaining the photos used as I believe they are self explanatory and indicative of what is on offer at The Sanctuary of Truth.

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Earlier in the day, I invested an hour of my time out in a speedboat at Pattaya Bay to obtain images of the city and the watersports seen daily from the shore. They will appear in a later post.

Many thanks for taking the time to read my dross. Please feel free to follow me on WordPress. There are also links to my Facebook and Flickr pages to be found on the main page.

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