The White Temple – Wat Rong Khun

The White Temple – Wat Rong Khun

The six+ hour bus ride to Chiang Rai today was worth it when we reached our destination of Wat Rong Khun- The White Temple.  It’s a mind-blowing experience to see this.   No camera can capture the splendor and beauty of this place.

The famous White Temple in Chiang Rai
The famous White Temple in Chiang Rai

This old temple was in poor condition at the end of the 20th century when a famous Thai visual artist chose to use his own money to rebuild it in a totally unique style of his own creation. The temple complex will eventually consist of nine buildings, covered completely in white plaster with imbedded small pieces of mirror which make the temple sparkle in the sunlight. His vision was to create a learning center for Buddhist teachings.

Guards at the Gates of Heaven
Guards at the Gates of Heaven

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The artist also injected his own ideas as he has been influenced by other outside religions with the addition of the ideas of heaven and hell.  Hands and images of people in hell reach up to pull you down, while there is only a small and narrow guarded path to travel across to get through the Gates of Heaven.

People trapped in hell
People trapped in hell
Greedy hands represent temptation desire
Greedy hands represent temptation and desire

It’s wild and crazy in a great way. The tour guide had to drag us away from this place!

Our tour guide decided to introduce to some Thai treats to us everyday.  This morning we had fried yam chips which were quite good. This afternoon we had something a little more strange…deep fried bamboo worms. The kids on the bus were, once again, jumping up and down with excitement to try them. We got a little braver today and tested our courage.  They tasted like salted shoestring potatoes…we just won’t be eating any more of them though. One was enough.

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Monie Thompson