One of the most iconic tourist attractions in Pattaya is the Big Buddha Hill and Wat Phra Yai temple. Located on the top of Pratumnak Hill, the 18 meter tall golden Buddha is popular with locals and tourists alike. It is the largest Buddha image in the Chonburi province of Thailand.
When you arrive at the temple you’ll be greeted by a large staircase flanked by two golden Naga’s leading up to the Big Buddha at the top of the hill. After the walk up the long staircase you’ll enter a grand patio area that has numerous different Buddha statues surrounding the giant golden Buddha. If you walk to the edge you’ll get some great views of Jomtien and the ocean below.
This is not just a tourist attraction, but Wat Phra Yai is also a working temple revered by the Thai’s and Buddhist who come here to pray and make offerings. Be respectful on your visit and dress appropriately.
If you get there early in the morning it is quiet and less crowded than later in the day when the night owls get up to do their sightseeing. This is the best time to visit if you like to take photos or video.
In addition to the highlight of the Big Buddha and the overlook, there are a few other things to explore on your visit to Big Buddha Hill. At the base of the stairs you’ll find various shops and vendors with goods and tourist souvenirs to sell. There are also a couple places to get a snack, drink, or coconut water.
Half way down the hill is small Chinese temple which is worth a quick look around. The area caters to Confucius and Taoist and has a definite Chinese fell. One main room houses a large golden Chinese figure seated on a throne. Inside you’ll also find a garden and tranquil pond amongst other small building and Chinese artwork, including numerous statues and displays.
You can get to the Big Buddha Hill by hiring a motorbike, taxi, or baht bus to take you to Pratumnak Hill. It is a strenuous hike from downtown Pattaya and should only be attempted by those in good shape, and bring plenty of water. Unless you are doing it for the exercise it’s best to hire a baht bus as it’s about 4km round trip.