Buddha Mountain Pattaya: The Famous Laser Carved Buddha Image of Khao Chi Chan
On the Northern face of Buddha Mountain Pattaya is one of the largest Buddha images in the world. Also known as ‘Khao Chi Chan’ and ‘Laser Buddha’, this gold leaf filled Buddha engraving is one of Thailand’s best known landmark attractions.
The 130-meter-tall by 70-meter-wide image can be seen from miles away, but to truly appreciate it, you should see it from close. And, there is no reason not to – entry to the Buddha Mountain Pattaya is free.
The Khao Chi Chan grounds include a temple, beautifully landscaped gardens, and a shop selling refreshments. Saffron-robed monks are often be seen in the area, so remember to dress appropriately.
Construction of Laser Buddha Pattaya
Buddha Mountain got its distinctive shape from being mined. During the Vietnam War, rocks from the site were transported to U-Tapao Airport, which, at that time, was an American army base. After the war, limestone from the mountain was illegally mined and sold to construction companies.
In 1976, the King put an end to the mining. It was thought, however, that leaving the beautiful mountain as it was would be a waste. And so, the famous Buddha image was created in 1996 to commemorate King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 50th year on the throne.
The image of the sitting Buddha from the Sukhothai Period was designed using computer software and cut out of rock using a laser. The engraving was complete in only 2 nights. Filling the resulting grooves with gold leaf, however, took a few months.
The entire project cost about 150 Million Baht (4.7 Million USD).
Getting to Buddha Mountain Pattaya
Buddha Mountain is about 12 miles (20 kilometres) from central Pattaya. The drive takes 25 – 30 minutes.
Taking a taxi is the most convenient way to reach Buddha Mountain. For about 800 Baht ($25), you can hire a taxi from Central Pattaya to the mountain and back (inclusive of 30 minutes waiting time).
If you prefer to explore Pattaya on a bike, the route is fairly straight forward – and there is no way you’ll miss the massive mountain.
The other advantage of using your own transport is that you can see other Pattaya attractions on the way.
Buddha Mountain visiting hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Attractions Near Khao Chi Chan
Since you can expect to spend about 30 minutes admiring Kho Chi Chan, it makes sense to combine your visit with another Pattaya attraction. Here are some popular places to visit en route to Buddha Mountain:
Pattaya Floating Market: The floating market in Pattaya is considered as Thailand’s best floating market. It’s a must visit if you haven’t seen a floating market so far.
Upside Down Pattaya: A fun place to visit – especially if you are travelling with kids.
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden: The award winning Nong Nooch Garden has been consistently finding a spot in the top 3 best tropical gardens worldwide.
You can also visit the nearby Wat Yansangwararam and Silverlake Vineyard along with Khao Chi Chan.
Significance of Khao Chi Chan
Almost as well known as Bangkok’s Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho and Emerald Buddha in Wat Phra Kaew, this giant Buddha image is famous all over Thailand.
Apart from the image’s sheer size, the fact that it was built on the recommendation of the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand to commemorate The King’s Golden Jubilee makes it a very important site.
The mountain’s official name is ‘Phra Phuttha Maha Wachira Uttamopat Satsada’.
Quick tip: Most people visiting Khao Chi Chan are part of a tour. If the gardens are crowded when you visit, wait for 20 minutes or so and the area will clear up when buses leave.
Elaborate gardens and pools stocked with lotus flowers give the area a quiet and contemplative feel. There are pavilions in the area for meditation and rest.
The Buddha Mountain is one of the most remarkable sites in Pattaya. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy some quiet time before heading back to the city.