Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai's white temple, is a dazzling white building, a magical place surrounded by works of art in a fairytale landscape.
A must-see temple if you visit the north of the country during your travel to Thailand.
History of the White Temple of Chiang Rai
In the late 20th century, the Wat Rong Khun was an old temple that was falling apart and there was no money to restore it.
A renowned Thai artist, Chalermchai KositpipatHe then offered to renovate it completely with his own money as a tribute to the King Rama IX and to Chiang Raihis hometown.
He has already spent more than 40 million baht on the project, which is not expected to be completed before 2070!
Wat Rong Khun damaged by earthquake
5 May 2014, the white temple suffered extensive damage from an earthquake.
The artist Chalermchai Kositpipat initially believes that the temple should be completely demolished for safety reasons.
But experts came to see the damage and assured that the structure of the buildings was in good condition and did not need to be destroyed.
The White Temple It was quickly restored and is now open to the public again.
Discover the White Temple of Chiang Rai
The Wat Rong Khun will consist of 9 buildings, when fully completed (in 2070!), including the art gallery and toilets.
In order to achieve a brilliantly white temple, the artist used pieces of mirror that were embedded in the building.
Whiteness embodies the purity of Buddhism and mirrors, illumination.
Access to the White temple by a bridge under which hundreds of hands seem to want to catch you, do not fall into this hell, you would be, like all these unfortunate tourists, instantly turned into stone!
The official description:
The bridge of the "cycle of rebirth
The White Temple is reached by crossing a bridge over a small lake.
Under the bridge are the hundreds of hands of those who did not resist the temptation.
The bridge teaches that the way to happiness is to avoid temptation, greed and desire.
Next to the lake are two very elegant half-human, half-bird creatures from Buddhist mythology (Kinnara).
The gateway to heaven
After crossing the bridge, the visitor arrives at the " gateway to heaven" This is the place where two creatures, representing Death and Rahu, decide the fate of the dead.
In front of the main building, there are several images of Buddha in meditation.
The temple was designed on the model of classical Thai architecture, with the three-tiered roof and the extensive use of Naga snakes.
In the temple, the setting moves quickly from blank white to fire and glare.
The murals depict flames and demonic faces, interspersed with Western idols such as Michael Jackson, Neo from The Matrix, Freddy Kruger and Terminator.
Images of nuclear war, terrorist attacks and oil pumps mark the destructive impact that humans have on the earth.
The presence of Harry Potter, Superman and Hello Kitty confuses the message, but the overall moral is clear: people are evil and this world is an illusion.
The golden building
The golden building represents the body, while the white temple represents the spirit.
Gold symbolises the way people focus on worldly desires and money.
The white building represents the idea of making merit and focusing on the spirit, instead of material things and possession.
The artist's paintings, which are on display, are for sale and are used to finance the work.
Getting to the White Temple in Chiang Rai
The temple is located 13 km from the town of Chiang Rai.
If you do not have a vehicle, you should go to the Chiang Rai Central Bus Station and ask how to get to the White Temple :
In Thai : Wat Rong Khun strawor just in English White temple.
There are many local buses which take about 30 minutes and cost about 20 baht.
But you can also go there by private song taew (pick up) or tuk tuk.
Address of Wat Rong Khun
1208, Tambon Pa O Don Chai, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Rai, Chang Wat Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
Other pictures of Wat Rong Khun
Videos on the White Temple of Chiang Rai
A superb aerial view of the White Temple
A guided tour of the White Temple
Google map of Wat Rong Khun
You can find the best hotel deals in Chiang Rai with Booking.com
See also :
Chiang Rai: the complete guide
What to do in Chiang Rai
Chiang Saen north of Chiang Rai, discover the golden triangle
Source: wikipedia.org Photos: Wat Rong Khun 1 to 10: Ddalbiez; Wat Rong Khun 11 and 12: Justin Vidamo ; yellow building and statue : ckmck
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