Shining like an ice sculpture in the midday sun, Chiang Rai’s Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple) forgoes the traditional gold and orange dressing of a Thai Buddhist temple for bright white walls and statues speckled with shards of mirrored glass.
Most Thai temples have centuries of history, but Wat Rong Kun’s story only started in 1997. The creation of artist turned architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, Wat Rong Kung’s grounds hold far more unusual features than the irregular white color scheme.
Visitors on luxury tours of Thailand enter the temple by first crossing a footbridge spanning a lake of grasping concrete hands meant to represent the hell of desire. Passing two sword-wielding giants glinting like porcelain in the sun, travelers on tours of Thailand gain access to the inner sanctum, where traditional Thai decorative styles found in other temples has been fused with contemporary images. The walls weave together images of Superman, Neo from The Matrix, and the International Space Station into a modernized version of the traditional depiction of the Buddhist cycle of life and rebirth, Samsara.
The White Temple is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Chiang Rai’s best weather comes November through February. The highest temperatures in the province are March through May, and the light rainy season runs from June to October.
About 7 miles south of Chiang Rai City, Wat Rong Khun is best reached by private vehicle.
A flight from Bangkok to Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport is the best way to visit Thailand’s northernmost province.
A popular destination among domestic Thai tourists, the temple's unique design aesthetic also draws throngs of travelers on tours in Thailand. Cultural and art enthusiasts are particularly fond of the chance to see modern interpretations of ancient Thai Buddhist style.
Appropriate Attire :
Wat Rong Khun is holy ground, and visitors traveling on Thailand luxury tours should cover their shoulders, arms, and legs in modesty while touring the temple.