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Monday, October 15, 2012

Chiang Rai : Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple


Chiang Rai White Temple 5

We had two days left in Thailand before we proceed to Laos via Chiang Khong. The city proper of Chiang Rai is relatively small and there's really nothing much to do as compared to Chiang Mai. But there is one attraction that it's famous for.


Chiang Rai White Temple

Thailand is famous for its historic and golden wats or temples. But there is one famous temple that definitely stands out - the Wat Rong Khun or White Temple. It's a very modern and unconventional Buddhist temple. It was designed by the Thai artist Chaloemchai Khositphiphat. From afar, it has this majestic feel and is nestled in a beautiful lawn.

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There's also a small pond where you can see the reflection of the temple. Around it are these mystical creatures that seem to be on guard.

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Another interesting thing is the bridge going to the temple itself. If you look at the creatures you'll see one that seems like Death guarding the bridge. And at the bottom of the bridge is Hell where a number of hands are trying to reach out for you. 

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On the bridge you can actually see and appreciate how much attention to detail was put into the temple. It's really beautiful.

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Inside the temple is another story. You can't take photos inside. The first thing you'll see is the Buddha inside and a waxed monk. But as you turn around, you'll see the walls filled with murals of the end of the world, the apocalypse or just the evil things that is currently happening in the world. There's the 9/11 bombing of the Twin Towers, George Bush and Osama Bin Laden, and various movie references such as the Matrix. You'll also see Michael  Jackson, Spiderman and other famous movie characters. It's quite a unique experience being inside that temple.

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I like how different this temple is. How it recognizes the good and the evil and what is really transpiring in the world right now. If you're crossing from Northern Thailand to Laos via Chiang Khong, I suggest allotting a day in Chiang Rai to see this very interesting temple.

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