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The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), Chiang Rai

As one might know, Thailand has many temples.. about 40.000 of them. During my travel in Northern Thailand
I heard about a temple of a unique appearance. This is why I dedicate this post to Wat Rong Khun or The White Temple
just 8 km outside the city of Chiang Rai.

wt2
The transition bridge to the White Temple
As one might know, Thailand has many temples.. about 40.000 of them. During my travel in Northern Thailand
I heard about a temple of a unique appearance. This is why I dedicate this post to Wat Rong Khun or The White Temple
just 8 km outside the city of Chiang Rai.

Designed and built by the Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat who was born in 1951, his project was mostly self-financed
and is a pure act of faith with the idea to create a world-famous and unique piece of art. The construction of Wat Rong Khun
started in 1997 and it will be still an ongoing project for many years as it is a whole complex with the White Temple as its centre.

artist
Chalermchai Kositpipat - the creator of the White Temple. This is a life-size standup. Short man with a big vision!


The White temple is, as its name is saying, covered completely in white and unifies classical Buddhism with contemporary art.
The design of the temple itself is more traditional, however, the decorations in and around the temple are the factors that make
it so special. Conceptually spoken, it is about the battle of good and evil using Hollywood movies and latest political
developments as motives everywhere on the grounds.

wt
The White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand

detail
Detailed artwork: a mixture of wood, ceramics and glass (little mirrors)


While crossing the bridge you can see underneath countless sculpted hands that are reaching for you.
The walkway up to the White Temple makes the visitor become part of a transitional experience going from a world of sin
to a place of enlightenment. Inside of the White Temple, the walls are fully painted telling the story of transition. While the
back wall represents hell it contains motives of nuclear explosions with Superman and Matrix´s Neo flying in it.
The side walls show people floating on clouds of enlightenment flowing into the front mural where huge a Buddha
is waiting for you. It is really worth to have a closer look at the details, hidden messages are everywhere, even in the
reflections of the eyes of the Buddha. Unfortunately it is not allowed to take photos of the motives inside.

hands
Hands underneath the bridge.

paint
I was lucky to meet some artists working inside and was even allowed to paint a shade of the enlightenment-cloud in the temple.
My fingerprints are there now. Thanks man!



As I already mentioned, Thailand has many temples but this is a one-of-a-kind temple and not comparable to the other ones.
If you plan to go to Northern Thailand you really should not miss it. However, keep in mind that is still a spiritual place so take
the shoes off and cover your shoulders. And because the artist really follows his principle and probably can afford it, the entrance is free.

It is also interesting to know that there is a counterpart to this work. The Black House or Bandaam Museum is done by one of Kositpipat’s
former students Thawan Duchanee. Being all about bizarre and maybe scary stuff its also on the opposite side of the city.
I could not make it there but it is definitely recommended.





Travel with a professional aspect
In this blog I will keep you informed about all the fancy,
beautiful and designy things that cross my way
while travelling.