Are you planning a trip to Pattaya? Maybe you don’t even know where it is or, if you’ve been to Thailand before, you may have heard some rumors about the beachside town an hour or so south of Bangkok. In that case, you might wonder what can you do if you don’t like bar hopping? Or perhaps you’re getting out of the city with the weekend with your family? Let’s level up your Pattaya vacation with these four places you must visit when in Pattaya.

1. Nong Nooch Garden and Resort

In 1954, Mr. Pisit and Mrs. Nongnooch Tansacha bought 600 acres of rolling hills and valleys near Pattaya. They intended to build a fruit plantation but, during her trips abroad, Mrs. Nongnooch saw the beauty of several world-renowned gardens. She decided immediately that she would turn the orchard into a tropical garden “for all people of this world”. She did just that: her gardens draw 5,000 people per day and it has been recognized as one of the top ten most beautiful gardens in the world.

2. The Sanctuary of Truth

Construction began in 1981 (scheduled to be complete in 2050), the Sanctuary of Truth sits at the tip of Rachvate Cape and it is easy to access from Pattaya. The castle, constructed entirely from wood, is so large that it spans an acre and stands over 315 feet high. The building itself is a throwback to the Ayutthaya period in Thailand’s architectural but visitors pay more attention to the hand-carved sculptures and motifs adorning every surface. These sculptures seek to bring visitors to reflect on the “common life goal towards Utopia”.

3. Frost Magical Ice of Siam

You think you can’t have ice sculptures in the tropics? Think again! Housed inside and kept at a constant 14F (-10C), a palace of ice greets visitors to romp, enjoy unique cocktails served in finely-hewn mugs of ice, and explore below-freezing-point playrooms. Beyond the palatial, glacial ice castle, you exit to find scores of gigantic statues carved from the white-sand for which Pattaya is famous. These sand sculptures, much like the KAAN show that we recommended, invite visitors to learn about the Himmapan, a magical fairy forest that is home to likes the crocodile hunter (not Steve Irwin) and several creatures unique to Thai lore and fables.

4. KAAN Show

A hybrid live-action and cinema stage show, KAAN invites the audience into the wondrous world of classical Thai literature. The titular character, Kaan, can’t keep his eyes open when reading the old stories, so the librarian hands him a book with his name on it and our hero finds himself living the legends! There are pyrotechnics, giant robots, and even lightning – real lightning! The show is suitable for all ages and runs about 75 minutes. Tickets range anywhere from 1500 – 2400THB and the show starts at 17:30.

There is much more to do in Pattaya than you may have heard. Peer past the bar crawls and the nightlife to see gardens stretching for acres, a sanctuary built to escape from the modern day, a technological bonanza designed to transport you to the past, and sculptures that freeze, literally and figuratively, Thai fairy tales for all to see. Pattaya is a quick escape from the modern: duck into the presented past and find yourself in touch with the thriving culture of Thailand.