The White Temple

The newest temple in the area

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

What we say: 3.5 stars

An ornate, relatively recent creation by famous Thai artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, Wat Rong Khun, or the White Temple, is one of the most unique structures in all of Thailand.

Although influenced by Buddhist mythology, philosophy and architecture, the structure is more a work of art than functioning temple. The whole place is built with white plaster and glass and even the apparently very pure koi carp in the surrounding pool are white. The white plaster represents the Buddha’s purity while glass represents his wisdom.

A mix of traditional Buddhist and curious modern imagery is found here; traditional scenes from the Buddha’s life mingle with depictions of modern superheroes, including Keanu Reeves’ character in the Matrix.

Outside, a footbridge leads over a sea of demons and desperately reaching arms/hands before arriving at the front doors. The bridge represents the transition via hell from an earthly existence to nirvana.

Some traditional Buddhists find Wat Rong Khun to be offensive and some travellers find it nothing short of kitsch, but we recommend it as a thought-provoking glimpse into one of Thailand’s most creative minds.

More details
15km south of Chiang Rai
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00-17:00.
How to get there: The temple is located some 15 km south of Chiang Rai city at the junction of highway 1 leading south to Phayao and highway 118 heading Chiang Mai-wards. and there’s no entrance fee, though donations are welcome.
Last updated: 24th May, 2013

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