On top of Khao Phra Tamnak, the small hill between South Pattaya and Jomtien, you can be see the largest Buddha image of Chonburi province, visible from far away approaching the hill. Officially named Phra Buddha Sukhothai Walai Chonlathan, but also known by locals as Luang Pho Yai, the golden Buddha image is around 18 meters high. Built in 1977 in brick and concrete, it is the highlight of Wat Phra Yai, a small temple built on the hill in the 1940s when Pattaya was nothing more than a fishing village. Very popular and revered among the local people who come to the Wat Phra Yai early in the morning to pay respect and pray for health, the Big Buddha is one of highlight of tour groups around Pattaya. Reached the temple, a long stairway flanked by two golden colored Naga snakes leads to the terrace where the large statue lies. Once at the top, apart from the Big Buddha in Subduing Mara posture, also known as Calling the Earth to Witness, there are 7 smaller golden Buddha images on the temple grounds, as well as a pavilion hall which has a beautifully painted mosaic on the walls. The small Buddha figures are in different postures, some are sitting, others lying down or standing, they are representative of different days of the week. From the terrace, usually the view is unfortunately not so clear, because of the smog that often surrounds Pattaya, however on a good day you can enjoy some of the best views of the seaside resort and surrounding area including partial views of Jomtien Beach and the island of Koh Larn.
On the way up the hill, just before the Wat Phra Yai, you will pass Wang Sam Sien, a Chinese Temple sets like a garden park, where a number of figures from Chinese history and folklore are displayed. Close to the entrance lies a white statue of the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, called Guanyin, and even a large metal bell which is a replica of that boasts the Royal Palace in Beijing in China. Inside the park there are several figures and statues telling about Chinese stories and legends, like the Three Kingdoms Stories, as well as a statue of the great Chinese philosopher Confucius who lived some 2,500 years ago.
Admission fee & Opening hours: The temple is open daily from 7.00 to 22.00. Admission is free.
Getting there: Wat Phra Yai is located on Phra Tamnak Hill, just 2 kilometres south of Pattaya city. Unfortunately, the shared songthaew reaching Jomtien Beach from the city center usually do not pass from the hill, so the best way to get there is to rent one as a taxi for around 200 baht. Before leaving, make sure you agree on the price.Read More
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