The White Temple of Chiang Rai

July 14, 2014 2 min read 0 Comments

The White Temple of Chiang Rai | A Map to Anywhere

If you get a chance to go to the White Temple in Chiang Rai, I suggest you take it.  It’s still one of the most unique temples I’ve seen anywhere.

Getting to the White Temple of Chiang Rai

The White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun, is one of the strangest temples you will ever see. And I know, I've seen a lot of temples.

Most tourists who come here join a guided tour from Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai. I did a day trip from Chiang Mai that also included the Golden Triangle. 

It was a lot of driving in one day, but completely doable. 

The time from Chiang Mai to the White Temple is about 3 hours. The ride from Chiang Rai is just about 20 minutes. 

You can also get there using buses and tuk-tuks but day tours are a pretty popular option. 

Whichever way you decide to go, entry is free! 

If you want to avoid crowds, book your own transportation and arrive early after opening. 


(Seriously, who brought the red nail polish?)

What it's Like at the White Temple

What makes it so unique is it's modern pop culture tributes and darker displays. The temple is privately owned  the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat who decided to renovate the temple and re-design it as well. Owning the temple meant he got full artist license and it shows, in a good way. 
The temple was completed in 1999 and has been open ever since, although an earthquake in 2014 did result in some damage. The temple's intensely ornate and dark images reminded me of the sort of art a Thai-inspired goth would have created in high school. The White Temple is imaginative and surprising. That's what makes it so popular.You see a lot of things you don't expect. 

Should You Go to the White Temple?

Here's the thing, there are a lot of temples, cathedrals, mosques, etc. in the world. Often being a tourist means you see too many of them and become tired of it eventually.

The White Temple isn't like that. I have never seen another temple comparing to it in the world. 

Also, tourist attractions often value the oldest structures and I think that one of the real selling points of seeing this temple is it is a modern-day masterpiece that was completed in recent history. 

That's pretty unique. 

So go, it won't be a place you'll ever forget!

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