Chiang Rai‘s Most Popular Neighborhood, Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple, is a breathtakingly beautiful and unique temple complex that attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.

The White Temple

The White Temple, or Wat Rong Khun, is a contemporary Buddhist temple complex designed and built by the artist, Chaloemchai Khositphiphat. The temple is entirely white and adorned with intricate and ornate designs, featuring a mix of traditional Thai and modern elements. The temple’s gleaming white exterior is meant to symbolize the purity of the Buddha’s teachings, while the intricate and otherworldly designs are meant to represent the illusions of the material world.

The Experience

As you approach the temple complex, you are greeted by a large pond filled with lotus flowers. The reflections of the temple in the water make for a picturesque and peaceful scene. As you walk along the bridge towards the temple, you will notice the many intricate and colorful murals that adorn the walls.

Once inside the temple, you will be struck by the intricate and otherworldly designs that cover every inch of the walls, floor, and ceiling. The temple is filled with statues of the Buddha and various other deities, each one more intricate and detailed than the last. As you walk through the temple, you will be guided by a series of signs that explain the meaning and symbolism of each of the designs and statues.

The Artist

The White Temple is the brainchild of the artist, Chaloemchai Khositphiphat. He began construction on the temple in 1997 and has been working on it ever since. Chaloemchai’s vision for the temple was to create a place that would inspire people to reflect on the nature of life, death, and the human condition. He believes that art has the power to change the world and inspire people to be better versions of themselves.

The Controversy

The White Temple is not without its controversies. Some people believe that the temple is too modern and does not fit with the traditional style of Thai temples. Others have criticized the temple for its depiction of pop culture figures such as Superman, Michael Jackson, and even Harry Potter. Chaloemchai has defended his use of these figures by saying that they represent the illusions of the material world that distract us from the path to enlightenment.


In conclusion, Wat Rong Khun, or the White Temple, is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Chiang Rai. It is a unique and beautiful temple complex that offers a thought-provoking and visually stunning experience. Whether you are a devout Buddhist or simply someone who appreciates art and culture, the White Temple is sure to leave a lasting impression. While it may be controversial, it is worth visiting to form your own opinion and appreciate the artist’s vision.