When the sun catches it, it shines bright like… Like a diamond! It’s covered with statues and steeples and surrounded by ponds and greenery.
Take a closer look and the figures that adorn its walls and walkways are interestingly morbid, leering skills and tentacles.
Unfortunately for us, an earthquake struck earlier that week and the inside was cordoned off. The damage was so bad at first that the future of the Temple was in question. It is now thought to be still structurally sound and will be fixed over the next two years.
That said it’s exterior is magnificent and we still had a great visit.
Surrounded by equally bedazzling out buildings, the White Temple (Wat Rong Khum) is the magnum opus of Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. It was begun in 1996 and is still being worked on, with the artist stating that it (the temple):
Only death can stop my dream, but cannot stop my project
In a workshop near the temple we caught a glimpse of the artist himself, busily working away with his apprentices on a huge statue of Ganesha – the Hindu god of success!
If you are anywhere near Chiang Rai we cannot recommend enough for you to come visit this Temple.
Alternatively, those of you in London can check out some of Chalermchai’s painting skills by visiting the first Thai Buddhist Wat to be built in the UK, Wat Buddhapadipa , which is situated in Wimbledon. He took four years to complete the murals on display here.