Wat Rong Khun

The extravagant Wat Rong Khun is an artistic revolt against the themes of lust, greed, and earthly desires.

visit the White Temple

It may feel like you have seen enough temples for a lifetime by the time you reach Chiang Rai. But, believe it when we say you haven’t seen anything quite like Wat Rong Khun, or the legendary White Temple of Thailand. Its unabashed extravagance will fill your insides with exhilaration. A masterpiece by the iconic Thai architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple is so overwhelmingly spectacular that you have to process it one step at a time. And, there is more to it than meets the eye. Symbolism is the driving force behind the genius of Wat Rong Khun, revealing itself in every element.

What distinguishes the White Temple from other Buddhist sanctuaries is the narration within its walls. Rather than the depictions of the Buddha’s life, the temple touches upon wider and more abstract concepts. And at heart, it is a work dedicated to challenging the common. Its unusual white color is defiance against gold, which symbolizes lust and greed according to the architect. As you approach the temple through a bridge, a pool of white hands reaching upwards will surprise you. They symbolize desire and hunger for more. Around the temple, you will find scenes depicting samsara, the never-ending cycle of life and death in Buddhist belief.

The main building is closed to visitors, but a sculpture house right behind it offers more quirky angles to Kositpipat’s artistic vision. Highly edgy and at times discomforting, the entire site is a uniform animation rather than a complex.

Wat Rong Khun Gallery

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