The White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) is a surreal looking temple located 13 km South of Chiang Rai, a city in the North of Tailand. The construction of the White Temple started in 1997 and still goes on to the present time (it’s said that it will go on till 2070!). BUT…Unfortunately, on 6th of May 2014 the White Temple in Chiang Rai was affected and damaged by an Earthquake of 6.3 Richter scale and the interior of the temple is closed to the public for an unknown period of time. But you CAN VISIT THE EXTERIOR AND THE GARDEN which are the most interesting parts anyway!

It’s sad that such a beautiful temple, after so many years of working on it, it’s now damaged with cracks and broken towers.

I was lucky to see the White Temple in Chiang Rai before it was damaged by the earthquake, so please enjoy the PHOTOS TAKEN BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE, when the White Temple was intact, in all its beauty.

The front view over the White Temple The magnificent White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand it’s rich in detailed carvings and little mirrors.

The entrance of White Temple

The entrance in the White Temple and its surrounding gardens is free!

The path leading to the White Temple is surrounded by horror scenes and sculptures, like skulls and hands reaching up the the visitors.

white temple chiang rai handsAt the entrance of the White Temple in Chiang Rai hands reach up to you with hope and desperation

Heads, skulls at the entrance of the White Temple

Details of the chaos and horror in front of the White TempleDetails of the chaos and horror in front of the White Temple

Vanity, all is vanityVanity, all is vanity

If you are going through Hell, keep going

Once you pass the horror path, the way further in the White Temple is guarded by Demons. Climb up with courage and discover a temple like you’ve never seen before!

The White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand, is not an ordinary Buddhist Temple, no no. It’s an unconventional, contemporary work of art. This makes it unique in the world and I think is a MUST when you visit Thailand.

Demons guarding the entrance at the White TempleDemons guarding the entrance at the White Temple

The Guards at the entrance of the White TempleThe Guards at the entrance of the White Temple

Passed the Guards and going up towards peace and quiet

Decorated balustrade Decorated balustrade

There it is, the surreal White Temple, Wat Rong Khun, a temple like you've never seen before

Demon guards in front of the White Temple

chiang rai white temple thailand

white temple thailand

Detail of the roof of the White Temple

thailand white temple

Decorations and carvings reaching towards the sky

White details

The White Temple in Chiang Rai, view from the front garden

The magical Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai

Inside the White Temple

Inside, you think you see a simple Thai Temple with people praying peacefully in front of a Buddha Statue, but if you turn around, there are mural depictions from Matrix, the attack on the Twin Towers from 9.11, the red angry bird, a Hello Kitty, Superman, Spiderman, scenes from Star Wars and even Michael Jackson! Strange for a Buddhist Temple, isn’t it? I managed to take 2 photos (shame on me, because photographing is forbidden).

Spiderman depicted on the walls of the White TempleSpiderman depicted on the walls of the White Temple

Angry Bird and Hello Kitty on the left edge, Twin Towers under attackAngry Bird and Hello Kitty on the left edge, Twin Towers under attack

The Garden of the White Temple

Of course the garden is the same weird. Creatures and heads are hanging from the trees or raising from the ground.

Predator rising from the ground in the garden of the White TemplePredator rising from the ground in the garden of the White Temple

Ghost heads hanging from the trees in the garden of the White TempleHeads hanging from the trees in the garden of the White Temple: Batman, Hellraiser, Hellboy, Jack the Ripper

No drinking sign in the garden of the White Temple“No drinking” sign in the garden of the White Temple

The Toilets at White Temple

If you drank to much water and nature calls, there is a beautiful golden toilet building, which blends perfectly with the architecture of the White Temple😀

 

The golden toilet building at the White Temple

:D

Toilet sign: Women, MenToilet sign: Women, Men

How to get from Chiang Rai to the White Temple?

The White Temple is located 13 km South of Chiang Rai.

To get from Chiang Rai to the White Temple:

  • take either songthaew (covered pick-up trucks) – wave at them
  • or take bus from the Chiang Rai Old Bus Station located in town’s center (platform 7 or 8). It costs 20 bahts (50 cents) per person and the trip takes around 20-30 minutes (the lady at the Information Counter said there are buses every 30 minutes, but we waited at least 45 minutes in our bus before it finally left). When the driver drops you off, cross the double lane street and walk for about 1 minute.

To get back from the White Temple to Chiang Rai

  • wait on the opposite side of the street from where you were dropped off and wave to a bus or a songthaew (covered pick-up trucks) which goes back to the city.