This majestic three-storey Chinese temple is both a place of worship and museum. The temple’s official name is Anek Kuson Sala, bestowed upon by His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej (Rama IX). But it’s called Vihara Sien because of the collection of Chinese saints housed inside the temple (‘sien’ means saints).
Vihara Sien is a cultural treat. It houses three floors of exhibits, showcasing religious artifacts from Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist sects. Even if you are not a Buddhist, the place is worth checking out for its cultural value.
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Rare Treasures from China
More than a place of worship, Vihara Sien is both an architectural masterpiece and a museum of rare archaeological artifacts, donated by the Chinese government. Up to 60 granite sculptures, depicting various gods and goddesses, as well as Chinese zodiac dolls and animal figurines, stand sentry on the ground floor. There’s also a shrine outside where you can pay respect to the gods.
A major highlight is the exhibition area, fashioned in the style of an ancient Chinese palace hall. Here, the collection of artifacts range from earthenware pottery, ancient musical instruments, paintings, brassware and the golden throne of an emperor and the horse soldier figurine (dated more than 2,000 years old) excavated from Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s tomb in Xian.
A Journey into Thai and Chinese Religious Culture
The museum continues onto the second floor, where you’ll find more figurines of Chinese gods and goddesses as well as an outdoor exhibition detailing the Chinese way of life. There’s also an exhibition area for showcasing Thai cultural artifacts, such as wooden models of traditional Thai houses from the four regions, classical Thai instruments, Thai puppets, Khon masks and other hand-carved wooden sculptures.
The third floor is dedicated to a collection of Buddha images, from both the Mahayana and Theravada sects, and wall murals depicting scenes from the Buddha’s previous incarnations as well as Chinese-style murals.
- Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00
- Location: 15 kilometers south of Pattaya, on Sukhumvit Road (2km from Wat Yansangwararam)
- Tel: +66 (0)38 238 367, +66 (0)38 235 250