Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, perhaps better known to foreigners as the White Temple, is certainly one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples built in this century. The privately owned temple is a contemporary and unconventional masterpiece of the artist visionary Chalarmchai Kositpipat, famous for his paintings on Buddhism. Wat Rong Khun reflects the great artist's visions of heaven, hell and Nirvana. The whole structure is carved in white plaster with glass mosaics. Construction of White Temple began in 1997, but not finished yet it could take another 50 years, when completed the complex will have nine buildings, including the existing ubosot, a hall of relics, a meditation hall, an art gallery, and living quarters for monks. If you look closely you will see images of international heroes like Spiderman, Sailor Moon and Ben hidden in the murals. When the temple is completed, it could take another 50 years, the Wat Rong Khun will have a total of nine buildings. Donations to complete the structure are well accepted, but must not exceed 10,000 THB, as expressly requested by the artist Chalermchai, who prefers not to be influenced by large donors. The versatile artist has already spent more than 40 million THB of their own money for the construction of Wat Rong Khun. The existing ubosot, is reached by crossing the bridge of "the cycle of rebirth" over a small lake. In front of it are hundreds of outreaching hands that symbolize unrestrained desire. The bridge proclaims that the way to happiness is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire. Next to the lake stand two very elegant Kinnaree, half-human, half-bird creatures from Buddhist mythology. After crossing the bridge, the visitor arrives at the "gate of heaven", guarded by two creatures representing Death and Rahu, who decides the fate of the dead. The ubosot embodies design elements from classic Thai architecture such as the three-tiered roof and abundant use of Naga serpents. Inside the temple, only two walls are painted completely, with a representation of heaven and hell. If you look closely you will see images of Western idols hidden in the murals such as Spiderman, Michael Jackson, Neo from The Matrix, a T-800 series Terminator and Freddy Kruger, as well as images of nuclear warfare, terrorist attacks, and oil pumps hammer home the destructive impact that humans have had on earth. The presence of Harry Potter, Superman, and Hello Kitty confuses the message somewhat, but the overall moral is clear: people are wicked.
Admission fee & Opening hours: The temple is open daily from 08:00 to 17:00. Admission for Thai nationals is free, foreigners are required to pay 50 baht.
Getting there: Wat Rong Khun is located about 13 kilometers south of Chiang Rai in Tambon Pa O Don Chai, just off Phaholyothin Road. The temple is easily accessible by tuk-tuk and taxi, about 250-300 baht each way. In alternative you can reach it by bus service that leaves from old bus station in the city centre, Bus Terminal 1. The ticket can be done on board and it costs 20 baht each way. Buses stop on the main road, just opposite the White Temple.Read More
Wat Rong Khun Events
Other Tours & Excursions
Chiang Rai Events
- 04/12/2023 to 04/15/2023Public Holiday
- 11/27/2023 to 11/29/2023Public Holiday
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