Updated: Sep2012

Anek Kuson Sala - "Carlsberg don't do museums, but if they did....."

By Wendy Merrett, September 2012

If I say Pattaya to you I am sure your mind will conjure up thoughts of drunkenness and debauchery. But head a few kilometers south and you will come to the sleepy fishing village of Bang Saray, Bang Salay, Bang Sare or however you want to say it. (I think we spotted four different spellings on the road signs!) There are a number of British and Norwegian expats here who have set up guest houses, restaurants and homes.

There is a very well looked after navy beach with crystal clear waters, a

golf course if you are that way inclined and a fantastic Wednesday night temple market that serves up delicious and cheap local food. Throw in a weekend of people watching as the Thai’s head down from Bangkok to the beach and a multitude of tasty seafood on sale and you’ve got yourself a pretty cool place to stay for a few days of r and r. 

But I am not trying to sell you a holiday to Bang Saray, I am telling you that you have to see the amazing Anek Kusala Sala or Viharnra Sien – “Abode of the Gods”. The Best museum in the world – ever! It is situated in between Pattaya and Sattahip, close to Bang Saray, but if you are in Bangkok you can visit on a day trip from there. And you should.

The museum was set up by the Chinese-Thai community to honour His

Majesty the King. The Chinese government gave 328 precious and valuable 
items to the museum as a gift to the king. These include terracotta soldiers and bronze chariots from the tomb of Emperor Quin Shi, more commonly known as the terracotta army. This is the only place outside of China that has a permanent display of the terracotta soldiers.  I have been lucky enough to visit X’ian in China and see the army and watch the endless hard work of those involved in the excavation of the tomb. The model version in the Anek Kusala Sala begins to reflect the enormity of the size of the complex in China.

But it isn’t just the terracotta army that is worth the visit. Outside you will

find the statue of the eight immortals crossing the ocean, opposite a huge laughing Buddha and surrounded by stone sculptures of animals of the Chinese zodiac. There are two huge entrance protectors and the ground floor houses amazingly detailed bronze sculptures. As you go up the stairs you are surrounded by artwork including cave style paintings and Chinese handwriting. On the outer upper level you will find my favourite exhibit, bronze statues of Shao Lin monks, each in a different position and facing their master. I felt certain that they would come alive as they are so life like. Inside there are examples of Thai and Chinese musical instruments and puppets and some incredibly intricate wooden elephant carvings. It is the
kind of place that you could visit over and over again and find something new to admire every time you went. You could spend hours wandering through the statues, paintings and all the other things I have forgotten to mention.

The museum itself is very well kept, the exhibits and surrounding areas are immaculate. Although it is set in a temple a member of staff I spoke told me it as important that people understood it was first a foremost a museum, everyone of any nationality, race or religion was welcome. And we were incredibly welcomed. 

50 Baht - £1 well spent!

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In Thailand, elephants have traditionally worked with humans in the logging industry and as the trucks and heavy machinery of the day. When in 1989 the government officially banned all logging activity most of these elephant's went into the tourism industry, "trekking camps", circuses and wandering the streets of the big cities begging, are the new reality for these animals. Elephant's World was founded in 2008 to function as a 'retirement home' for elephants that have been injured during, or are too old to continue with, this type of work. We are a non-profit organization, meaning we are funded exclusively by visitors and donations and every cent we earn goes towards making our elephants lives as pleasant as possible and, of course, retiring new elephants.[more]

YMCA Bankgok
The YMCA is a world-wide recognised organisation. Get in touch with us to volunteer for Summer Camps and Enlgish Day Camps. [more]

Pattaya Orphange
In 1972, Rev. Fr. Raymond Allyn Brennan, a Redemptorist priest, was requested to go to help work at St. Nikolaus Church, Pattaya, temporarily, and one morning when he opened the church door he saw a newborn child left at the stairway front. Not knowing what to do, he took care of the child, asking his friends about “how to give milk and how to change the diaper”. News about the fostering of the child spread, resulting in more children being brought to give to him, most of whom were fruits of the presence of the U.S. military base at Sattahip. 
During the Vietnam War, Pattaya became a favorite place of the American servicemen who came for recreations, so there were a large number of abandoned children. A military officer and Father Ray consulted each other on how to find ways and means of aid. [more]

Lanta Animal Welfare
Lanata Animal Wlefare (LAW) is based on Koh Lanta in the south west of Thailand. LAW’s objective is to relieve the suffering and pain of the animals on the island through sterilisation and care. To date, we have sterilised and treated over 6,000 animals.
You can help us by: Adopting one of our friendly dogs or cats from Thailand (our animal adoption programme makes taking an animal from Thailand to your country a very simple process) and you will have given a beautiful animal the home it deserves. [more]

MAP Foundation
They come seeking employment, livelihood and, for some, refuge. Nearly all migrants from Burma support their families and communities in Burma by sending home money they earn in Thailand.  Migrants may also seek to establish a safe and stable life for their family in Thailand.  The military dictatorship of Burma denies the existence of this pattern of migration to Thailand and consequently fails to safely provide its people the necessary documentation to leave Burma or enter Thailand legally.  As a result, nearly all migration across the border to Thailand has been irregular and the migrants are completely undocumented. It is thus very difficult to estimate the number of migrants from Burma living and working in Thailand. The largest number of migrants from Burma to register for a temporary residence card was 921,492 in 2004, which probably only represents a third to a quarter of the total number of the migrants from Burma in Thailand. [more]

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Anek Kuson Sala
"Carlsberg don't do museums, but if they did.."
A museum or an art gallery? Or is it a temple? One things for sure, it's well worth a visit!

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