The Viharn Sien is a beautiful Chinese temple South of Pattaya now in use as a museum. The museum houses a unique collection, which is believed to be one of a kind outside of China.
It is made up of a three story central building and a number of pavilion halls. The Viharn Sien is built in elegant Chinese style, but the real attraction lies inside the building. This museum is one of the best places in Asia outside of China itself to see some priceless and rare Chinese artifacts and antiques.
The Viharn Sien is also called Viharnra Sien, which means House of the Gods, and was built in 1987 for the current King of Thailand’s 60th birthday, King Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX of the Chakri dynasty.
One of the best Chinese art collections in Thailand
Set in a well kept area of almost 3 acres,the museum sits next to a beautiful lake on the Wat Yansangwararam temple complex. The museum, which is also known as Wihan Sian or Anek Kuson Sala houses one of the best Chinese art collections in Thailand.
Before entering the building you can see a number of Chinese mythological figures and two enormous stone Peking lions. Inside the museum there is a collection of fine Chinese pottery from several dynasties, one of them the Shang dynasty, making this pottery at least 3,000 years old. Also on display are the statues of 18 Shaolin monks, all displaying a martial art form for which the 15 centuries old Shaolin Monastery in China is famous.
Inside the central building are the hand made terracotta figures of 8 arhats, who are the followers of the Buddha that have reached a high stage of Enlightenment. A great number of precious antiques, paintings, statues and artwork are displayed here, some of which were a gift from the Chinese government.
Some very unique items like a number of figures of terracotta warriors and horses, chariots from the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi as well as a golden throne can be viewed.
This is one of the very few places where a terracotta army like this can be seen, especially outside of China. Apart from that the museum houses a large number of other items, such as granite carvings, old paintings, bronze and earthenware, sculptures of Chinese Gods, Buddha statues and a jade statue of Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. Some items are from the famous Chinese Ming dynasty.
One section of the Viharn Sien is dedicated to Thai art and history. Here you can see a number of paintings showing the history of some of Thailand’s great Kings, such as King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and King Taksin, under whose rule Siam was freed from Burmese occupation.
Apart from a museum, the Anek Kuson Sala, the Thai name for Viharn Sien, is also a place for worshipping Chinese Gods.
Food and drinks are available outside the museum. A trip to Viharn Sien can be ideally combined with Yansangwararam temple and Buddha Hill (Khao Cheejan) or Nong Nooch tropical gardens, which are all close to the museum.
How to get to Viharn Sien
Best way to get there is by private taxi; most hotels will be able to book one for you. Make sure you agree on the price before leaving.
An alternative would be by songthaew, that can be chartered as a taxi, in which case you can give your bargaining skills a try to get a good price.
Admission & opening hours
Viharn Sien is open daily from 8 am until 5 pm. Admission is 50 Thai Baht per person. Please dress appropriately.