• Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun) May 15, 2016
  • Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun)
    Exploring Chiang Rai, Thailand traveling

    Exploring Chiang Rai, Thailand

    (May 11-16, 2016) Next to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is the biggest city in Northern Thailand that offers urban amenities plus a lot of nature. I've heard many great things about this place that I had to come back to Thailand to experience this place (and Pai). With roughly 6 days, I set about to explore this destination.....more »»

    Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun) traveling

    Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun)

    (May 15, 2016) Wat Rong Khun, better known as the White Temple is Chiang Rai's biggest crowd drawer. Temples are usually gilded in Thailand, or the rest of the Buddhist world for that matter. But an iconoclast artist broke the mold and built a Snow White Buddhist temple 13 kms south of Chiang Rai City. It's the first installment of many. The entire project is set to complete in 2070....more »»

    Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun)
    TheLoneRider
    a nomad in search of life's Easter Eggs

    UNDER CONSTRUCTION

    Chiang Rai, Thailand

    Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun) May 15, 2016

    Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun)

    Features: open all year round, open 8am until 6pm, admission is free
    Location: White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand





    2070 Completion
    Wat Rong Khun, better known as the White Temple is Chiang Rai's biggest crowd drawer. Temples are usually gilded in Thailand, or the rest of the Buddhist world for that matter. But an iconoclast artist broke the mold and built a Snow White Buddhist temple 13 kms south of Chiang Rai City in 1997. It's the first installment of many. The entire project is set to complete in 2070.

    Snow Blind White
    The temple grounds are massive with many structures in place, most of them immaculately white. The Ubosot, or the main temple structure with its fiery white presence dominates the templescape in the middle of a pond. Some parts of the temple system are embedded by small mirrors to reflect the sun giving it an illuminating presence and glow - it's dazzlingly sparkling! The whole scene came across as both intense and insane!

    Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun)
    in front of the Ubosot in all its white purity
    Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun)
    in front of the Ubosot in all its white purity

    Chalermchai Kositpipat
    The temple was already pre-existing before it became the White Temple - but it was in bad shape with no funds to give it a facelift. Then came Chalermchai Kositpipat. Normally, artists make a small statement in their gallery to give themselves credit for their body of work. At the White Temple however, Chalermchai Kositpipat, the artist who made it all happen, is making a single-handed attempt to eclipse his work by featuring himself - like a master showman taking the limelight. You see his face everywhere, his cut-out (for people to take a picture with), self portraits, pictures of him with celebrities and royalty, etc. His omnipresence cannot be missed. Going beyond his self-aggrandizing though, he spent his own money to build the temple, B40 million as of last count. Without argument, he is a very dedicated and talented artist.

    Wish Hanging Ornament
    You can buy for B30, a hanging ornament where you can write a wish. It is then hung to some of the temple structures en mass...by the hundreds of thousands serving as part of the structure itself. And it stays there for as long as the temple system stands - probably forever. This reminds me of the Temple burning in Burningman. An ornate and grand temple made of combustible wood and paper is erected in the desert where people who have lost a loved one can write something for them in a piece of paper. They then insert the paper within the wedges of the temple structure. On the night of the burn, the entire Temple is set to flame and fire engulfs the whole structure. People watch with tears in their eyes. The White Temple wish-feature isn't exactly as moving and profound as that of Burningman.

    Ending Thoughts
    The artist could have stopped building when the Ubosot was done - afterall, it's the main deal and he would have cast the die on his immortality by that. But he continues to build and even after his death, the construction will continue...with his money. I guess there is something profound to be said about that.

    For its uniqueness, surrealism and bold statement, you should see the White Temple when in Chiang Rai.

    --- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
    YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider



    Chiang Rai's Colorful Temples

    1. Visiting the Blue Temple Nov 27, 2019
    2. Visiting the Black House of Chiang Rai Nov 26, 2019
    3. Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun) May 15, 2016


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    Chiang Rai FYI / Tips

    How to Get to Chiang Rai

    Chiang Rai being a big city, nearly all cities and towns connect to it by bus or plane (no trains though).

    1. if you are dropped-off at the Bus Terminal 2 Station (the new one), you need to take a blue songthaew to the old Bus Station (B15) which is in the heart of the city. If you checked-in near the Clock Tower, chances are, you can just walk it from the old bus station to your hotel. Otherwise, you may have to ride another blue songthaew from the old bus station to your hotel. If you take the tuk-tuk from the new Bus Station, you may be charged something like B170 to be taken to a hotel not walking distance from the old bus station

    Things to do, Places to go in Chiang Rai

    1. Wat Rong Khun - Blue Temple - opened to the public in 2016 after being in disrepair for years, this is the latest color-themed incarnation of Chiang Rai's temple renaissance
    2. Wat Rong Khun - The White Temple - designed by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, the construction commenced in 1997 with 2070 estimated completion date. This is probably Chiang Rai's most visited tourist attraction
    3. Baan Dam - Black House Museum - a macabre repertoire of Thawan Duchanee, a Chiang Rai artist who expresses his art around the dark side of humanity. 9am - 5pm w/ 12-1pm siesta, free
    4. Night Bazaar - a night market on foot for clothes, food and tourist merchandise. 2 sound stages for cultural shows and live music. One stage is in Thai while the other stage seems for tourists - cultural dance, English music, etc. Big open spaces for eating and drinking, open until about 11pm
    5. Saturday Night Walking Street - similar to Night Bazaar with its food stalls and merchandising, but the stalls are lined up on the streets
    6. Clock Tower - this is an iconic landmark in the heart of Chiang Rai where most of the tourist hotels, restos and recreation areas are clustered. Minor audio and light display at 7,8 and 9pm
    7. Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) - this is the original spot where the Emerald Buddha was first discovered in 1434 when lightning hit a chedi and revealed the Buddha within. The original Buddha has been moved to several locations through its history and finally rests in Bangkok. What resides in Chiang Rai is a jade replica
    8. Singha Park - almost 13km2 in size and 450m elevation, the park houses an assortment of entertaining and recreational facilities - rock climbing, zip lining, view point scenery, tour of tea plantation, bike tours, animal park, etc.
    9. Mae Fah Luang Art and Culture Park - B200 fee, opens 8:30am. Great garden, natural setting, abundant Teak wood carvings on display, quiet, gallery, museum pieces, etc.

    Chiang Rai Cost Index

    backpacker places (US$1 = Thai Baht 34.89 = Php 46.95 as of May 3, 2016)

    Chiang Rai Blogs by TheLoneRider

    1. Visiting the Blue Temple Nov 27, 2019
    2. Visiting the Black House of Chiang Rai Nov 26, 2019
    3. Revisiting Chiang Rai Nov 26-28, 2019
    4. Exploring Chiang Rai, Thailand May 11-16, 2016
    5. Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun) May 15, 2016

    Travel Tips for Thailand

    How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days

      60-Day Thai Tourist Visa

      NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.

    1. Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
      a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
      b) flight booking to Thailand
      c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
      d) filled-in tourist visa form
      e) 2 passport pictures
      f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
      g) passport with at least 6 months validity
    2. After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
    3. NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.

      30-Day Extension

      NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.

    1. bring the following to the Immigration Office:
      a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
      b) Baht 1900
      c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
      d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
      e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
    2. submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
    3. when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
    4. when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
    5. when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
    General Travel Tips
    1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
    2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
    3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
    4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!

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