The Wat Rong Khun: “The White Temple”

The Wat Rong Khun, or “the White Temple,” is an easily recognizable temple that attracts thousands of tourists each year. Pure white plaster and glass make up the majority of the temple, creating a breathtaking sight to behold.

Thailand is home to hundreds of gorgeous sights. From the lush greenery overlooking crystal blue waters to the staggering intricacy of both modern and ancient temples. Whatever you’re travelling to Thailand for, we’re sure you’ll find some of these incredible temples, and won’t regret it!

About the White Temple

The Wat Rong Khun’s original building does not have much-noted history about it. It was a simple building almost in ruins when construction began to restore and protect it in 1997. It was then that Chalermchai Khositpipat, one of Thailand’s most exceptional modern artists, took over the temple. He successfully turned ruins into one of the most popular (and stunning) attractions in Thailand.

Chalermchai Khositpipat was an accomplished artist in his early career, garnering several awards and exhibitions before working on the White Temple. To date, Khositpipat has spent over $30 million of his own money to revitalize and restore the temple.

Some consider this modern marvel blasphemous, as it features some questionable aspects that you will unlikely find at a traditional temple. You’ll find kitsch pieces and political murals sprinkled throughout the site, including Predator, Hellraiser, Mickey Mouse, and many other modern adaptations.

The sculptures of hands reaching up from the earth holding bowls, symbolizing suffering in the fires of hell

The white colour symbolizes the purity and sacredness of temples, and the temple itself serves as a place for orthodox Buddhist teachings. You can enter the main building via a bridge surrounded by hands. The hands are reaching up from the earth, symbolizing souls suffering in the fires of hell.

Visiting the Temple

You can visit the temple for free from 8AM to 5PM on weekdays and until 5:30PM on weekends. Although the temple is full of modernized artistic flair, temple etiquette is still required, including modest dress. Also, please remember to remove your shoes before entering a temple building. Photography is not allowed inside the main building, but a gallery on the grounds sells the artist’s artwork alongside other gifts and souvenirs.

Wat Rong Khun is accessible via Highway 1 (Phahonyothin Road), about 15km southwest of Chiang Rai. You can hail a taxi or rent a motorcycle to get there, and the ride should take around 20 minutes. If you’re staying in a hotel in Chiang Rai, the hotel concierge can arrange a ride for you.

Buddhist monks walking across the bridge of the White Temple into the main building

Travelling in Thailand

If you’re visiting Thailand, be sure to visit the White Temple. It’s truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen before and is definitely worth a few hours of exploration.

If you’re going to Thailand with Immersa Travels, we’ll arrange tours that stop by some of the most noteworthy attractions. Plus, you’ll get a chance to enjoy authentic street food and genuinely immerse yourself in Thai culture. Whether you’re there for the temples or the Pad Thai, we’ll be sure to give you a trip you’re not soon to forget.

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