The tourist industry in Thailand exploded in the 1960s, when visitors discovered the stunning forests, incredible Buddha statues, and historical sights of Bangkok. The country was one of the first areas of Southeast Asia to open up for international tourism, allowing people to experience a brand new world. If you’re planning a visit, the resort town of Pattaya is one option to consider; once a small fishing village, this city has grown to welcome travelers from all over the world. Here are just a few of the things you can do on a trip to this resort-filled city.
The Sanctuary of Truth reaches almost 345 feet high, constructed entirely of wood. The temple is filled with Buddhist and Hindu sculptures; these include four large gopuras, which are ornate towers that represent each of the mythologies of Buddhism in Thailand, China, Cambodia, and India. It was built by a businessman, Lek Viriyaphant, starting in 1981; it’s scheduled to be fully completed by 2025. Visitors can tour the neighboring waters in a speedboat, ride horses through the surrounding trees, and take part in the sanctuary’s nightly dinner and dance show. You can even tour the grounds on an elephant.
Gardens of Every Type
The Million Years Stone Park contains a massive rock garden collected by its founder, Kuan Suan Phanomwattanakul, over the course of his life. There are trained trees that are over two centuries old, and stones shaped into animals and other shapes. The gardens around these monuments are gorgeously sculpted, and bright wildflowers peek out of every nook and crevice.
But the abundance of rocks doesn’t mean that Million Years is devoid of excitement: the park also has an incredible exotic zoo, featuring white tigers, giant catfish, albino horses, elephants, and bears. The Crocodile Kingdom has the largest population of salt water crocs in Thailand, with a successful breeding program for the imposing reptiles. Trainers will go head to head with the creatures, performing tricks and feeding them at select times during the day.
The Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden is a 500-acre property that is home to some of the most incredible exotic plants in the country. It has a scientific center dedicated to the study of cycads, an order of tropical plants that grow very slowly, with some species living to be 1,000 years old. There is a butterfly garden, an observable ant colony, and even a selection of French and European plants. Visitors can watch martial arts shows and dine in the two fine restaurants on the property.
Make Sure to Pack Your Feather Boa
One of the most famous attractions in Pattaya is the Tiffany’s revue, a glitzy drag show put on by katoey performers. Gender terms are constructed differently in Thailand, and don’t fall along the same dichotomies as Western cultures; the term ‘katoey’ refers to a transgendered or effeminate gay man, who belongs to a third category, a male with a female gender identity. They are more visible in Thai culture than in other parts of the world, to the point where many popular movie stars and singers are katoeys. Their live shows are always glamorous, dazzling, and a lot of lighthearted fun.
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