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 Province, Thailand. It is owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed, constructed, and opened it to visitors in 1997.

Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun 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 glass symbolizes the Buddha’s wisdom and the Dhamma, the Buddhist teachings.

wat rong khun

wat rong khun

Every detail of the temple and structures as the bridge of “the cycle of rebirth” and the “Gate of Heaven” carries meaning and encourages the visitor to reflect on the Buddhist teachings that show the way to escape from the worldly temptations, desires and greed and focus on the mind instead.

wat rong khun

wat rong khun

Every detail of Wat Rong Khun carries deep religious symbolism – though admittedly most Thais will be unaware of most of the meaning as well unless they have studied up on its mysteries.

wat rong khun

wat rong khun

Much of the temple’s messages refer to escaping desire, greed and passion and moving towards the sublime through Buddhist teachings. To reach the main temple hall, you cross a threshold guarded by demons and traverse a bridge over an ocean of ghostly hands reaching up from the cycle of death and rebirth. The temple building symbolizes the realm of the Buddha and rising to a state of nirvana.

wat rong khun

wat rong khun

wat rong khun

How to get to the Wat Rong Khun

The Wat Rong Khun is located just off Highway 1 (Phahonyothin road) about 15 kilometers South West of Chiang Rai town. The most comfortable way to get there is by private air conditioned taxi. The ride from town takes about 20 minutes, the fare is between 250 and 300 Baht. Most Chiang Rai hotels will be able to book one.

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