Sunday, 5 April 2009

Pattaya Day 5 - Wat Phra Yai + Wang Sam Sien


I mentioned in my 2 articles "Sawasdee Pattaya" and "The Russians are Coming! The Red Shirts are Coming!" that Pattaya started life as a red-light district but have grown into a decent size Thai city with everything that a typical Thai city would have, including the ubiquitous Thai wats.

There's Wat Chai Mongkol locates about 150m from the Walking Street on South Pattaya Road, but this is a local wat for Thai worshippers. We visited a more touristy temple Wat Phra (Khao) Yai. During religious ceremonies, you will see more locals, who come to worship. Other times, tourists far outnumber locals.

While this wasn't the most impressive wat in Thailand, it sits atop Pratamak hill with aerial view of the Pattaya city and the sea.  The gilded Big Buddha sits (in lotus posture) at the peak of the hill. This buddha is the biggest in this province of Chonburi.


Staircase leading towards the Big Buddha in Wat Phra Khao Yai, Pattaya, Thailand
Staircase leading towards the Big Buddha franked by a pair of dragons running down the handrails
From the mouths of the dragons out come a pair of 7 headed nagas (serpents)

This buddha statue is modelled after the artistic style of the Sukhothai period, which the Buddha is depicted with a grin instead of a faint smile

Buddha statue at Wat Si Chum in Sukhothai province
It's no Mona Lisa's smile



figurines of King Rama V
Figurines of deified King Rama V (aka the Great) Chulalongkorn offered by Thai worshippers
The cult of personality that led him to be worshipped as divine figure, which is enjoyed
by no other Thai kings. His reign was the longest (42 years, hence Great)

food and figurines offer to gods and spirits, Thailand
Various food, flower and figurines of Thai dancers, elephants as offering to spirits

As we climbed the hill to reach to the top to Wat Phra Yai, we unexpectedly greeted by a Chinese "cultural park" half way up the hill opposite Wat Phra Yai. This is the Wang Sam Sien (王三仙).

Wang Sam Sien, Pattaya, Thailand
Entrance to Wang Sam Sien


Longnu (龍女 Dragon Girl)
Left side-kick Longnu (龍女 Dragon Girl)
Guanyin is franked by 2 kids or acolytes.
Everyone needs companies, even if they're kids.
Red Boy (紅孩兒)
Right side-kick Red Boy (紅孩兒)

Diorama from a scene from a Chinese classic Journey to the West: Monkey, Tripitaka, Pigsy and Sandy
Diorama from a scene in a popular Chinese classic Journey to the West
From left to right: Monkey, Tripitaka (Trippy), Pigsy and Sandy.
Sorry, White Dragon. That's the Horse. He, too, is Tripitaka's disciple. One tends to overlook
him because he looks like a normal horse, normally.

Panel showing Dragon and Phoenix: auspicious couple symbols,  generally seen in traditional Chinese wedding (groom = dragon, and bride = phoenix)
Panel showing Dragon and Phoenix: auspicious couple symbols,
generally seen in traditional Chinese wedding (groom = dragon, and bride = phoenix)

Diorama showing scene from another Chinese classic: Romance of the 3 KingdomsFrom left to right: Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei
Diorama showing a scene from another Chinese classic: Romance of the 3 Kingdoms.
From left to right: Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei

There's another place - also free admission - that you can get an aerial view of Pattaya city. Central Festival is the largest shopping mall in Pattaya, go to the top level and the balcony of the seaside to get a nice view.

Following are views seen from the balcony of this shopping mall.

Central Festival shopping mall, Pattaya, Thailand
 
The Pattaya Beach is on the left of the photo, followed by the Walking Street, which ends around
the Bali Hai Pier in the middle of the photo (the green roofed traditional Thai building)
(click to enlarge)




Jet Ski, Pattaya, Thailand
Jet Skiing fun




No comments:

Post a Comment