A visit to the White Temple

Wat Rong Khun  perhaps better known to foreigners as the White Temple, is a contemporary, unconventional, privately owned, art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist Temple  in Chiang Rai, Provence Thailand. It is owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed, constructed, and opened it to visitors in 1997. It is open all year round and there is no charge for admission.

I’ve visited many times and I don’t pretend to understand it but I will try to explain it a little.


The bridge of “the cycle of rebirth”: the main building at the white temple, the ubosot, is reached by crossing a bridge over a small lake. In front of the bridge are hundreds of outreaching hands that symbolize unrestrained desire. The bridge proclaims that the way to happiness is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire.

Gate of Heaven: After crossing the bridge, the visitor arrives at the “gate of heaven”


First you must walk past the grasping hands


Ubosot: The principal building, the ubosot is an all-white building with fragments of mirrored glass embedded in the building’s exterior. The ubosot embodies design elements from classic Thai architecture.



Inside the temple, the decor swiftly moves from pristine white to fiery and bewildering. Murals depict swirling orange flames and demon faces, interspersed with Western idols such as Michael Jackson and the Terminator.

I’m fascinated by the images on the outside of the building and compound.

Its difficult to photograph the sun on the white building reflects and increases the unrelenting heat.

The golden building: “A structure that stands out because of its color is the rest rooms building. Another very ornately decorated structure, this golden building represents the body, whereas the white ubosot represents the mind. The gold symbolizes how people focus on worldly desires and money. The golden building represents the idea to make merit and to focus on the mind, instead of material things and possession.



One Comment Add yours

  1. Sharon Lee says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply