Big Buddha Pattaya: The Famous Statue on Buddha Hill
An 18 meter tall gold painted statue of the Buddha graces the top of Big Buddha Hill Pattaya. This magnificent image is in the centre of Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple) – Pattaya’s most important Buddhist temple.
Wat Phra Yai was built in the 1940s, when Pattaya was just a small fishing village. The Buddha statue was constructed in 1977.
Since the impressive statue was (and still is) the largest in the Chonburi province, it quickly became Pattaya’s main attraction. Monks from all over Thailand would come here to offer prayers.
Today, even though the city’s popularity has soared, Big Buddha Pattaya (Thai name – Luang Phor Yai) remains a top attraction.
Big Buddha Pattaya Entrance fee: Free
Timings: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
Wat Phra Yai Pattaya (Big Buddha Temple)
The steps leading up to Big Buddha temple are quite noticeable. Running down both handrails are 7 shining nagas (snakes), that emerge from the mouth of a dragon. These colourful snakes are meant to guard the entrance to the temple.
From the bottom of the stairs the sight of the Golden Big Buddha, framed between the dragon mouths is a great view.
Once you get to the top of the stairs, you’ll see a grand patio. In the centre of the patio is the Big Buddha, surrounded by smaller statues.
The temple also has 7 Buddha images in different postures, representing different days of the week.
(According to Thai folklore, you should worship the form that represents the day you were born).
Big Buddha temple can get busy, however, the burning incense sticks and Buddhist chants playing in the background create a relaxed and reflective mood.
Remember to dress modestly: this is an important Buddhist temple.
Video of Big Buddha Temple
You’ll also get to see great views of Pattaya and Jomtien from here. If you enjoy panoramic views of cities, you must visit Pattaya’s view points. Big Buddha Hill is only 800 meters from Pattaya’s main view point, so it makes sense to cover both in a trip.
The first time Mona and I went searching for Buddha Mountain, we ended up in Buddha Hill Pattaya. People often make this mistake, so to clarify:
Buddha Hill Pattaya (Wat Phra Yai) has the 18 meter tall, gold painted Big Buddha statue. Buddha Mountain Pattaya (Khao Chi Chan) has the 130 meter tall, gold leaf filled engraving of the Buddha. Both are referred to as Golden Buddha Pattaya.
Getting to Wat Phra Yai Pattaya
Pattaya’s Wat Phra Yai is on top of Buddha Hill. Buddha Hill (also called Pratumnak Hill) is between South Pattaya and Jomtien, about 3.5 km (2 miles) from Central Pattaya.
- It’s best to drive here, but if you do not have your own conveyance, a taxi from central Pattaya will cost about 350 Baht ($10), including 1 hour waiting time.
- A motorbike taxi from central Pattaya to Big Buddha will cost about 35 Baht ($1).
- You can also take a songthaew (shared taxi) to the base of Buddha Hill, and then walk up. Unlike View Point, the road to Big Buddha Pattaya isn’t too narrow or busy. This makes the walk fun.
On the way up the hill, you’ll pass Wang Sam Sien – a Chinese shrine dedicated to Confucius and Guan Yin. Inside is a garden, a pond and interesting statues. The shrine is well worth a visit – a good place to take a break on your way to Big Buddha.
Overall, Big Buddha Temple is a great place to experience Thai culture. While Buddhists come to Pattaya’s Wat Phra Yai to offer prayers, others visit to marvel at the Buddha statues and enjoy the view.