Wat Rong Khun: The White Temple in Chiang Rai

Full View of The White Temple
The view from outside, before the hordes of tourists arrive

The White Temple In Chiang Rai is also known as “Wat Rong Khun” or in Thai: วัดร่องขุ่น.

About The White Temple

The White Temple is an extremely famous photo spot in Chiang Rai and you will see it all over Instagram. This means that it is a little more on the touristy side and very busy!

Visiting The Temple

We didn’t enjoy visiting Wat Rong Khun too much because of its fame. We felt like we were being pushed through a “production line”: get in, take a picture and get out.

However, the temple is still pretty cool and we do recommend you see it!

The temple contains a mixture of old Buddhist stories and contemporary, modern depictions of the “good vs. evil” as well as “heaven vs. hell” paradigms. You can even find paintings of popular Marvel, film and myth characters on the walls!

The concept is to allow the viewer to reflect on the Buddhist teachings that depict how to escape the temptations of the world and focus on the mind instead. As such, the entire temple grounds are meant to guide you through a simulation of life with temptations, pitfalls, beauty, and riches.

It’s Actually Immersive Art

The temple itself is more of an art exhibit than an actual temple. It was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a Thai artist that began its construction in 1997, which is still ongoing.

With plans only predicted to complete the project near the year 2100, there will be a total of 9 buildings on the compound. There is a wishing well and donation practice where tourists can make a donation and hang a charm on the walkway alongside the golden bathroom building. No donations more than 10,000 THB though!

Chalermchai Kositpipat has an art gallery opposite the temple that you can go and view as well, which we actually found more exciting. His artworks are absolutely amazing.

P.S. You are not allowed to take pictures inside the actual temple or art gallery.

Wat Rong Khun Architecture
The exit archways

Vital Visitors Information

Here’s a few things to keep in min when visiting The White Temple in Chiang Rai.

How Much It Costs

It costs 50 THB p.p. and an extra 20-40 THB to rent a Sarong.

Some people have spoken about paying 100 baht recently, so perhaps the prices have gone up since our visit in in April 2019.

When It’s Open

It’s open from 8 am to 5 pm.

You can come earlier to get pictures outside before anyone else arrives but it is closed off, so you cannot go into the property. This is how we know that:

We got up really early in vain. A website lied to us about the opening time of Chiang Rai’s White Temple, saying it opened at 6 am!

At least we got to take some uninterrupted pictures from outside…

Gold Bathrooms at Wat Rong Khun
The golden building housing the toilets

How To Get There

You can take a public bus from the main city centre bus station to the White Temple for 20 THB.

However, if you are in Chiang Rai for the day (or longer) we suggest either renting a scooter or a car (as we did) from your hotel. We paid 1200 THB to rent a car for the day!

Make sure to have your International Driver’s License, it isn’t always asked when you need to hire out transport but will come in handy if you’re pulled over by the law enforcement.

X Marks The Spot

Other Transport Options

12Go Asia is our trusted travel partner for Southeast Asia. We used them for every trip and were always more than satisfied!

Monster Alien outside of the White Temple

What You Should Wear

Since it is a temple and a place of worship you will have to be dressed appropriately.

This means that both men and women should cover up their shoulders and legs.

They do not provide sarongs. We had to go and rent a sarong for 20 THB at one of the shops opposite the temple. However, we also had to put down a 100 THB deposit.

Remember to take off your shoes before entering into the temple. They have shoe racks outside and it is perfectly safe to leave your shoes there.

Tammy at the entrance of Wat Rong Khun
The “cycle of rebirth” bridge with outstretched hands symbolising greed and desire

What Else Can I Do In Chiang Rai?

We spent a day exploring Chiang Mai and compiled the perfect travel guide for you, with all the must-see attractions!

Chiang Rai – The Perfect 24 Hour Guide!

Chiang Rai has so much more to offer, we really suggest spending more than just a day here if you are able to!

A Video Of Chiang Rai

Here’s our experience of Chiang Rai…

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