This temple has been the top of my travel wish list of Thailand for years. So it was exciting that I can finally visit it during my trip in Chiang Rai. Most of us should have seen the pictures of this temple before, as it is one of the most famous and beautiful temple in Thailand. The widely-known White Temple, or also called Wat Rong Khun, is the main attraction of Chiang Rai. For this reason, the temple can get very crowded, especially in the afternoon. Therefore, you can try to reach the temple earlier to avoid too many photobombs in your photos! By the way, I almost forgot to tell you that there is no admission fee to enter this temple. Yes, it is all free of charge!
The temple is located 5 km to the south of Chiang Rai city and it is easily accessible as it is located on the main road. As the name suggests, instead of dominated by gold colour like other temples in Thailand, this temple is almost entirely in white. Wat Rong Khun is designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a Chiang Rai-born artist and painter. The temple complex itself is actually still in progress, with full completion expected in 2020. The design for this temple is very unique and it has very intricate details.
To get to the main ordination hall, visitors will walk along the path and bridge across depicted ‘hell’, with hands and skeleton reaching out in agony. It is quite scary but also intriguing how everything is laid out in details. Once we enter the hall however, the vibe changes dramatically. The most fascinating feature of the hall is the painted walls which is in vibrant colours. Unfortunately it is forbidden to take photos inside the hall, but the paintings will surely take you by surprise. Instead of traditional wall painting like in other temples, here you can see rather contemporary figures, everything from Superman to Michael Jackson, from Harry Potter to the Terminator. Interesting, huh ?
To the side of the main hall, there is a wishing well. Visitors would throw coins into the well, aiming to reach the top tier of the ornament in the middle of the well. The reflection from the coins proportionately distributed in the water somehow created a delightful spectacle. And talking about delightful spectacle, every visitors in the temple would be astonished when they get to see the toilet. I first thought this golden building is some kind of a small museum. I did not have the slightest thought that it turns out to be the toilet! But I guess if the artist have the creativity to design such an intricate temple, the toilet has got to be thoroughly designed as well.
Opposite to the entrance of the temple, there is a museum which showcase the art works of K. Chalermchai. Photography is not allowed in the museum. Inside we can found various paintings and sculpture, as well as a souvenir shop. I bought several postcards showing some of the paintings of the artists. The paintings are very beautiful with vibrant colours and I should add that they are also in very intricate details just like his other works in the temple. As the noon is getting hotter (and the temple is getting crowded), I leave Wat Rong Khun for another interesting destination in Chiang Rai.