When one has spent enough time in Thailand, if ever that is possible, the temples tend to all sort of blend into one. The phrase “I’m all templed out” becomes a common heard expression amongst expats and regular travellers alike. However occasionally you can find a little gem to stimulate the senses. The Sanctuary of Truth is such a gem and well worth the entrance fee. Standing at an impressive 105 metres tall, it is constructed wholly from wood, no metal fixings have been used at all.
Building commenced on this privately owned temple back in 1981 and 400 highly skilled artisans have been hard at it ever since. This wooden temple it is unique among a sea of concrete, gold leaf and mirror tiled temples in the Land of Smiles. The carving work here is extraordinary and impossible to describe adequately. Photographs cannot display the intricacy and sheer volume of the beautiful carving that adorns just about every inch of this unfinished masterpiece.
Location of the Sanctuary of Truth
The Sanctuary of Truth is situated on a cape, overlooking the bay of North Pattaya, a 3km ride from The Bangkok Hospital on Sukhumvit Road. It occupies a large site that includes a couple of restaurants, an area where dance displays are held, a paddock with delightful ponies and sadly, a space given over to elephant rides. Surely the time has come to see and end to these.
Constructed in cruciform, the Sanctuary of Truth features four halls adjoining a central area. Each hall, when fully completed, will represent a different aspect of the religion; featuring Thai, Khmer, Chinese and Indian religious iconography. One hall represents birth, another the four elements whilst another is dedicated to the Bodhisattva. The central area has a large high ceiling which once again includes absolutely remarkable carving. There are many dedications to Thailand’s much loved, late King Bhumibol here.
The Birth Hall is still largely under construction and nothing more than a tentative glance of the superb carving was possible at the time of writing.
The Elements Hall features statues of the four element gods, wind, earth, water and fire It sits opposite the entrance facing out to the northwest overlooking the bay.
The Hall of the Bodhisattva is just about completed and is a superb space with once again immaculate carvings to just about every inch ion available wood.
The magnificent carving work at the Sanctuary of Truth is not reserved for the interior, the exterior walls are completely covered. The design in places is really quite spectacular. Huge elephants and depictions of the Buddha adorn the walls. Large structural pillars are also carved, intricately.
Visiting the Sanctuary of Truth involves negotiating about 200 steps and is not for those who find walking and climbing stairs difficult. However, there is a disabled lift being fitted and ramps for wheelchairs are everywhere. It seems that as the work is completed at some point in the future this will be one of the most accessible temples I’ve seen in Thailand for people with mobility issues.
The Sanctuary of Truth
Naklua Soi 12
Opening Hours: 8.00am - 6.00pm daily
Admission THB500 Adults. THB 250 Children