Wat Rong Khun, better known as “the White Temple” is one of the most recognizable temples in Thailand. If you go to Chiang Rai without seeing it, you will miss one of the most beautiful places in the city.
The temple is outside the town of Chiang Rai attracts a large number of visitors, both Thai and foreign, making it one of Chiang Rai’s most visited attractions. The temple is a unique temple that stands out through the white color and the use of pieces of glass in the plaster, sparkling in the sun. The white color signifies the purity of the Buddha, while the the glittering glass tiles covering the temple represent the wisdom of Buddha shining all over the earth.
The Wat Rong Khun was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai visual artist. To date the temple is not finished. Mr. Chalermchai knows that he will not live to see his life’s work fully completed and has trained a team of students to continue with his work, vision and imagination, even after his death.
Eventually there will be nine buildings including an ubosot, a hall to enshrine Buddhist relics, a meditation hall, the monks living quarters and an art gallery. Once you’re there, the temple will take your breath away. The structure, which is a contemporary Buddhist temple, was built in 1997 by the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Because of its extreme beauty and unusual design, the temple makes it a prime tourist attraction. It is a popular draw for many visitors who make the journey up to Chiang Rai.
Sadly the temple was heavily damaged by an earthquake in May 2014, and it is now structurally unsound. The tip of a main structure at Wat Rong Khun was damaged after the quake. However Kositpipat has been working non-stop to restore the temple. He has said he will devote the rest of his life to fixing it. With beauty like this, it’s not hard to understand such devotion. Just take a look some of its photos below.
The local Bus from Chiang Rai city to the temple costs 15 THB ($0.5 US).
Admission to the White Temple is free.
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