We recently took a trip overnight to Chiang Rai and one of the places that has been on my bucketlist since I got to Thailand was the White Temple. I’ve been in awe at all the pictures I’ve seen taken at the White Temple, but I soon realised it’s a lot harder than it looks!
We stopped off at the White Temple on our way home from our stay and we parked our car in the car park around the back. You can wander around the outside gardens for free which are still beautiful. There are huge walkways with millions of little metals leaves hanging from above with wishes and dreams on them. That’s the first thing we saw. We then came across the White Temple. It is very impressive when you finally see it and it gets better the closer you get. It’s a beautiful temple but the closer you get the more unusual details you see.
I thought the White Temple was actually a temple but it is, as described on Wiki, a privately owned art exhibit in the style of a temple.
To enter the temple and its grounds you have to pay 50THB. You will get a plastic bag for your shoes, that you have to take off in order to go into the temple.
The first bridge that you cross is the “cycle of rebirth.” On either side of the bridge are hundreds of hands that symbolize unrestrained desire. It’s so interesting to see all of these hands coming out of the ground and it’s also quite eerie. Each hand is different and there’s also some skulls in there too.
The bridge shows that the way to happiness is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire.
After crossing the bridge you arrive at the ‘gate of heaven’ guarded by two creatures, Rahu and Death, who will decide your fate. The details in this temple is incredible, with millions of small pieces of mirror stuck into the sides to make it glimmer.
The actual temple itself is no different, magnificent on the outside. As you get inside though and look at the small paintings it gets weirder and weirder. Amongst the paintings of war and misery are western idols such as Michael Jackson, Pikachu, Star Wars and the Terminator. I’m not sure the reason behind it but it did look pretty cool.
And that’s pretty much it! There’s also a gold temple that are the restrooms but they were under construction when I went. All around the temple are faces hanging in the trees of other western characters and there’s statues of some too.
There are a few shops and markets and things around the grounds that are full of the usual Thai market things. We went into the gift shop and bought a few magnets for our fridge instead.
It’s a wonderful temple and I’m really glad I got the opportunity to go but my my was it busy! It’s a very touristy place and if you’re planning on going and getting the Instagrammy shots, good luck. I tried my hardest and the only way I could was if I photoshopped the people out! There has been suggestions to go just when they open in the morning or just before they close in the evening. Apparently that’s when there’s the least people.
I can’t recommend this temple enough and it’s definitely a must if you’re in either Chiang Rai or even Chiang Mai!
I hope you like this blog post! There will be one more from my trip up to Chiang Rai!