Pattaya Attractions: Wat Khao Din
Pattaya has a multitude of places designed specifically to attract locals and tourists. Most of these can be found by way of Internet searches or picking up a variety of tourist-oriented publications or simply wandering past a travel agency.
One place that is not likely to be found on the tourist trail, and yet it seems to have been discovered by small numbers of Russian and East European visitors is Wat Khao Din (translated roughly as Temple of the Dirt Mountain).
The temple is, as might be gleaned from the title, situated on top of a prominent hill. It is located in the eastern part of Pattaya and has sweeping views over the plains beneath, and of the southern section of Jomtien beach and out to Bang Saray…at least on a clear day anyway.
One of the obvious standout features readily visible from Wat Khao Din is the Buddha image at Khao Chee Chan.
The temple area and buildings are of no great physical attraction or significance. In fact, they are in need of some real attention to bring them into what might pass for pristine condition.
There is a two-storey tower with a good view of the area, but the real ‘star’ is climbing a metal ladder near the entrance and looking out at what is a 180-degree-plus view of the south, east and west.
So how do you get to it if you are driving, be it by car or bike? Admittedly, it’s not exactly signposted, at least in English. Yet it’s obviously not an impossibility to locate, as evidenced by the consistent numbers of Russian visitors to the temple, most of whom arrive in one’s and two’s on motorbikes, not with some organised tour group.
Perhaps the ‘easiest’ direction involves the need to find your way onto Sukhumvit Soi 87 (also called Soi Nongkrabok, or derivative spellings thereof). Soi 87 is not far past Underwater World, but on the left-hand or eastern side, heading south.
You follow Soi 87 all the way down, past the turnoff for the Bungy Jump and Elephant Village, past the Charknork Reservoir and eventually, as the road narrows and slows through a small village area. Make sure to keep following the road to the right. That is, there are a couple of potential left or right-hand turns; just be sure to follow to the right. Eventually, you will find your vehicle climbing a rise and on the right-hand side will be a road sign, in Thai, indicating a turnoff and what is obviously going to become a steep hill climb. This road leads to Wat Khao Din.
The sign is actually placed a few metres past the road turnoff, so you have to be alert enough to see it coming and then realise the turnoff is before the sign.
Travelling time from Sukhumvit to the turnoff is about five or six minutes depending on your speed, or about eight to 10 kilometres at most.
Although not easy to find, Wat Khao Din is worth the effort. If possible, try and time your visit either for the hour or before sundown, or, for early birds, sunrise, to catch the best of the vistas.
Words & Pictures by Duncan Stearn