Wat Rong Khun, better known as “the White Temple” is one of the most recognizable temples in Thailand. The temple outside the town of Chiang Rai attracts a large number of visitors, both Thai and foreign, making it one of Chiang Rai’s most visited attractions.
It 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.
The Wat Rong Khun was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai visual artist. To date the temple is not finished. Eventually there will be nine buildings including an ubosot, a hall to enshrine Buddhist relics, a meditation hall, the monks living quarters and an art gallery. I was quite surprised to discover that the temple is uncomplete as it looks quite complete on the outside. It seems like religious buildings always take a long time to be completed, eg. the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is also incomplete.
Unfortunately, on May 5th 2014 a strong earthquake hit Chiang Rai. The white temple was badly damaged, but it is currently undergoing restoration work. Do check out the white temple when you are in Chiangrai.
How to go to Chiangrai?
From/ to Chiangmai: 3h
X-Class and A-Class buses stop for a break for 15 minutes about a halfway of the journey. A-Class bus is a simple large bus without toilet, and it was very comfortable for 3 hours journey. X-class provides free water, nuts, and hand-towel. VIP buses take 3 hours. Buses operated by Greenbus depart regularly throughout the day. Greenbus buses start from the city central bus station (Bus Terminal 1) and stop also at the New Bus Terminal 2 to pick up more passengers.
From/ to Bangkok: 11-12h
Three types of buses depart for Bangkok from Bus Terminal 2 and arrive at Mo Chit Bus Station:
VIP – 3 buses daily, 990 baht,