White Temple Chiang Rai: A Must-See Attraction in Northern Thailand

The White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun, is a stunningly beautiful temple located in Chiang Rai, Thailand. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area and is known for its intricate white architecture and unique sculptures. The temple was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai artist, and was constructed with the help of over 60 followers.

The temple is a privately owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple and was opened to visitors in 1997. The complex is an impressive sight to behold, featuring a mix of traditional Thai architecture and modern art. The main building of the temple is a dazzling white structure with intricate carvings and sculptures that depict a mix of popular culture and Buddhist beliefs. Visitors can also explore the surrounding gardens, which are filled with beautiful statues and murals.

If you’re planning a trip to Chiang Rai, a visit to the White Temple should definitely be on your itinerary. It’s a unique and unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and artistic traditions. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply looking for a beautiful and peaceful place to explore, the White Temple is sure to impress.

Overview of White Temple Chiang Rai

The White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun, is a unique and breathtaking temple located in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand. It was designed and built by the renowned Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, and it is considered to be one of the most stunning attractions in the region.


The construction of the White Temple began in 1997, and it took over 20 years to complete. The temple was built as an offering to Lord Buddha, and it is meant to symbolize the cycle of rebirth and the path to enlightenment. The temple was also built as a tribute to Thai architecture and Buddhism.


The White Temple’s architecture is a fusion of traditional Thai and contemporary styles. The temple’s exterior is made of white glass and is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures. The temple’s interior is equally impressive, with beautiful paintings and murals that depict the life of Lord Buddha and the cycle of rebirth.

One of the most striking features of the temple is the ubosot, the main building where the Buddha image is enshrined. To reach the ubosot, visitors must cross a bridge over a small pond, which is surrounded by hundreds of outreaching hands that symbolize unrestrained desire. The bridge proclaims that the way to happiness is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire.


Aside from the White Temple, there are other attractions in Chiang Rai that visitors can explore. The Blue Temple is another stunning temple that is worth a visit, and the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet, is also a popular destination.

Visitors can also take part in meditation classes or visit the art gallery located within the temple grounds. There are also restaurants and toilets available for visitors.

Entrance Fee and Travel

The entrance fee to the White Temple is 50 baht for foreign visitors, while Thai citizens can enter for free. The temple is located around 15 km outside the city of Chiang Rai, and the easiest way to reach it is by taxi. The journey should take approximately 20 minutes and cost around 300 bahts (9 USD).

The White Temple is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Northern Thailand. Its unique architecture, stunning visuals, and rich symbolism make it a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.

The Murals Inside the White Temple

The White Temple is famous for its stunning murals that cover the walls inside the temple. These murals are a unique blend of traditional Buddhist art and contemporary pop culture. Visitors are immediately struck by the vivid colors and intricate details of the murals.


The murals inside the White Temple are divided into several themes. The first section depicts scenes from Buddhist mythology, including the Wheel of Life and the Four Noble Truths. The second section shows the consequences of desire, greed, and temptation, with depictions of a predator and a demon. The third section features popular Western icons, including Superman, Michael Jackson, and Hello Kitty. The final section shows scenes of destruction, including the Twin Towers and aliens.


The murals inside the White Temple are not just beautiful works of art. They also have deep meanings and messages. The Buddhist themes remind visitors of the importance of living a virtuous life and avoiding temptation. The contemporary pop culture icons are a reminder of the dangers of materialism and the impermanence of fame and fortune. The scenes of destruction are a reminder of the impermanence of all things and the importance of living in the present moment.

Overall, the murals inside the White Temple are a must-see for anyone visiting Chiang Rai. They are a unique blend of traditional and contemporary art that is both beautiful and thought-provoking. The murals are a testament to the creativity and vision of the artist, Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat, and a reminder of the importance of living a virtuous life.

Other Attractions at the White Temple

In addition to the stunning main temple, there are several other attractions to see at the White Temple in Chiang Rai. Here are some highlights:

The Gallery

The Gallery is a modern building located on the temple grounds that houses an impressive collection of contemporary art by the temple’s creator, Chalermchai Kositpipat. The artwork on display is diverse and thought-provoking, ranging from traditional Thai paintings to more abstract pieces. Visitors can purchase prints of some of the artwork in the gift shop.

The Predator

The Predator is a sculpture of the alien from the movie of the same name, located in a small pond near the entrance to the temple. It’s an unexpected sight in the middle of a traditional Thai temple complex, but it’s a fun photo opportunity for fans of the movie. The sculpture is made of metal and has a reflective surface that catches the light beautifully.

The Golden Toilets

Yes, you read that right – the restrooms at the White Temple are a sight to behold. The building housing the toilets is covered in gold leaf and decorated with intricate designs. Inside, the toilets are modern and clean, with Western-style fixtures. It’s a welcome change from the typical squat toilets found at many Thai tourist attractions.

Overall, the White Temple is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Chiang Rai. The main temple is breathtakingly beautiful, and the additional attractions make for a fun and interesting visit. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Getting to the White Temple

If you’re planning to visit the White Temple in Chiang Rai, you’ll need to figure out how to get there. Here are some options:

By Taxi

Taking a taxi is the most convenient way to get to the White Temple. You can easily find taxis in Chiang Rai town and negotiate a price with the driver. Expect to pay around 200-300 baht for a one-way trip, depending on your bargaining skills. The journey takes about 20-30 minutes.

By Songthaew

If you’re on a budget, you can take a songthaew (a shared pickup truck) to the White Temple. Look for songthaews at the Chiang Rai Bus Terminal 1 or ask your hotel to arrange one for you. The fare is usually around 20-30 baht per person. Keep in mind that songthaews can be crowded and uncomfortable, especially during peak hours.

By Local Bus

Another option is to take a local bus from Chiang Rai Bus Terminal 1 to the White Temple. Look for the bus that goes to Mae Sai and ask the driver to drop you off at the White Temple. The fare is only 20 baht per person, but the journey can take up to 45 minutes. Keep in mind that local buses can be crowded and uncomfortable, especially during peak hours.

No matter which option you choose, make sure to dress appropriately for visiting a temple. Wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, and remove your shoes before entering the temple grounds. Also, be prepared for crowds, especially during peak tourist season. Consider visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.