Purple Dragon SACRED SPACES, Pattaya's Unexpected Spiritual Wonders.

Pattaya certainly has a reputation for many things, but spirituality is not one that leaps immediately to mind. Surprisingly, this seaside resort is home to a number of amazing sacred places that are well worth a visit while you are here on holiday!

Embark after breakfast with your personal guide for an unexpectedly mystical tour of Pattaya's lesser-known wonders of the spiritual realm.

Did you ever wish that you could have been around to see the Taj Mahal being built? Well, here is your chance to witness the ongoing creation of a new world wonder: a pantheon dedicated to Asia's major religions that is being hand-carved from a forest of ancient teakwood tree trunks. You can even try your own hand at carving a piece of this sensational personal vision of the deceased Thai tycoon who also created Muang Boran, The Ancient City and a museum built inside a gigantic sculpture of the 3-headed elephant god, Erawan.

Designed as a pagoda-shaped pavilion, The Sanctuary of Truth is a mystical 100 x 100 x 100 meters, and rests on a solitary peninsula that juts out into the sea. A private army of craftsmen has already been at work for 30 years, and another two decades will be spent completing the main structure. The intent of the Sanctuary is to physically embody Eastern philosophy, art and religion. The cavernous inner chapel sports scenes from Chinese, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions with hefty dollops of animism and geomancy thrown into the mix.

Inland from Pattaya is another religious complex, Wat Yan Sangwararam, housing religious structures serving various schools of Buddhism, plus international pavilions dedicated to China and Switzerland. Set in a theme park-like layout of gardens and lakes, it draws mostly Asian tourists who come to worship at its variety of shrines.

Just beyond this, out in the farm fields and orchards, are a number of eccentric geologic formations -- rising spires of rock that float like islands in the greenery. Here, at Chi Jan Hill, you will discover yet another spectacular vision -- a golden outline of the seated Buddha carved into a sheer rock face using a laser projected outline as a guide. The park at its base is filled with families, Thai tourists, and saffron-robed monks who come here to commune and be astounded.

If you still crave enlightenment, drive up to Wat Kao Phra Yai and marvel at its gigantic seated Buddha as you take in the imposing vista of Pattaya Bay from this hilltop temple.

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