Weather :

Timings : Monday to Friday : 8 AM to 5 PM .
Saturday to Sunday : 8 AM to 5:30 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Entry Fee : THB 50

Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai Overview

The White Temple, also renowned as Wat Rong Khun is the brain-child of one-of-a-kind artist - Chalermchai Kostipitat. An architectural wonder in its own right, this temple is filled with a lot of Buddhist elements in its architecture, mirror decorations, and ornate reliefs. A privately-owned art exhibit in the form of a temple, Wat Rong Khun beautifully depicts the Buddhist teachings of karma, hell, heaven, and earthly sins. The white colour of the temple embodies the purity and sacredness of Buddha and his Dhamma teachings.

Visitors can enter the main building known as ubosot after crossing a bridge from the temple entrance. The bridge signifying the 'cycle of rebirth' goes over a 'pool of death', where the figures with outreaching hands represent unrestrained and unfulfilled desire. At the end of the bridge, just before stepping into the temple grounds is the 'Gateway to Heaven' which signifies where the dead have their fate decided. The temple also consists of a golden building which stands out distinctly in contrast to the white of the rest of the temple. While the gold represents the worldly desires sought after by people, the white represents the peace of mind and being.

Photos of Wat Rong Khun

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How to Reach

1. Taxi - The easiest and quickest way to get here is by hiring a taxi. It costs between 200 to 300 THB and is reachable in 20 minutes.

2. Bus - Buses leave from Chiang Rai town’s old bus station situated close to the night market. It costs 20 THB and can be reached in half an hour.

3. Songthaew - Visitors can also take blue songthaews from the old bus station and costs about 300 THB.

Tips while Visiting Wat Rong Khun

1. Get early (opening time - 8 AM) to the temple to avoid crowds.

2. Dress appropriately. Cover your shoulders and wear skirts or pants that cover your knees.

3. Photography of the murals and paintings is strictly prohibited.

Highlights of Wat Rong Khun

1. The Bridge of the 'Cycle of Rebirth'

The Bridge of 'Cycle of Rebirth'
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At the entrance, to get to the main building, there is a bridge located over a small pond/lake that visitors must cross. Below the bridge, there are multiple figures with outstretched hands that represent human desire. This symbolizes the suffering of humans due to the endless wants. This bridge that leads towards the ubosot is known as “the cycle of rebirth” bridge, where the crossing the bridge moving towards the state of no suffering. In a nutshell, it portrays the message that defeating worldly desires, greed, and temptations is the way to true happiness.

2. Gateway to Heaven

The Gateway to Heaven, Wat Rong Khun
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After crossing the cycle of rebirth bridge, visitors will be welcomed by two creatures, namely Death and Rahu, who guard the entrance of 'Gate of Heaven'.

Also, there are several Buddha statues and shrines in meditation, in front of the Ubosot.

3. Ubosot

Ubosot, Wat Rong Khun
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The ordination hall, also known as Ubosot, is situated in the white-washed building that features a three-tiered roof, murals depicting Buddha stories and teachings, Naga serpents, and contemporary murals of Spiderman, Batman, and many other superheroes and villains from the world of comics and movies.

4. The Golden Building

The Golden Building, Wat Rong Khun
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The golden building is a unique structure amidst the white-washed buildings. It stands markedly in contrast to the white buildings where the white buildings represent the mind, while the golden building denotes the body. The gold represents how we, humans, focus on money, greed, and otherworldly desires. This building was created to focus more on the mind and soul, rather than the possession and material goods.

History of Wat Rong Khun

During the 20th-century, the temple was in a deplorable state and had to be repaired. But the renovation had to be put on hold as the funds ran out. This was when Chalermchai Kositpipat, who is a native of Chian Rai, stepped in and planned to rebuild Wat Rong Khun with his own money. He went on to design and build the temple, basing it as a centre for meditation and learning where people can make use of the teachings from Buddha. Till date renovations and improvements to the temple and its premises continue.

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