This past weekend we decided to make a point to journey around and see some new sights. On Saturday we went to one of the local malls, Harbor Mall Pattaya, as well as some western expat grocery stores. At the mall we were successfully able to find a Google Chromecast dongle which has been very helpful in streaming Netflix, Hulu, etc. (we don’t have cable). I highly recommend it! At the grocery store we found some comforts of home like Kraft Mac & Cheese, Heinz Ketchup, sliced deli meats, and Nature Valley breakfast bars. I honestly didn’t think much about these foods in the USA but was excited to see something familiar to eat. On our way back home we managed to pass Khao Chi Chan or “Buddha Mountain” which is a limestone hill carved with a sitting image of Buddha and painted gold. It is actually very close to our home.
On Sunday, we decided to take a journey to Wat Phrai Yai aka “Big Bhudda” at the top of Pratumnak Hill between Jomtien Beach and Pattaya. I’m told is is one of the largest in the region and it is approximately 59 feet high. It is free to visit however it is a nice gesture to donate a little money once there. We traveled the 40 minutes from our home and finally arrived.
As you begin the trek up the hill you see many sites and sounds. We heard people praying and monks chanting. We heard bells ringing. We passed an old lady who was selling small cages of birds that people often purchase and release through Buddhist ritual. There were vendors selling food items and drink, as always.
As we approached the footsteps of the Big Bhudda a gentleman quickly snapped a photo of us in hopes to sell some tourist kitsch later. The temple was intense! Huge “naga snakes” which look like golden dragons run up the stairwell of Wat Phra Nai. At the top were multiple smaller Bhudda statues in various positions which represent days of the week.
If you walked behind the Big Bhudda you could witness wonderful views of Jomtien Beach and Pattaya.
As we took our own pictures, our kids became little celebrities again.. HAHA. A few groups of people asked if they could take pictures with them. We obliged but I managed to take my own of the process. The kids aren’t put off by it but it is definitely a different experience for them.
As we departed we decided to go ahead and buy a piece of tourist paraphernalia considering we had yet done so since our arrival in Thailand. The gentleman who snapped our photo earlier affixed the image of us onto a plate. 200 baht! Not bad. However I’m kinda creepin’ in the background.. oh well.