Wat Rong Khun: Le Majestueux Temple Blanc de Chiang Rai
Wat Rong Khun, better known as the "White Temple," is one of Thailand's most recognizable temples. Located outside the city of Chiang Rai, it attracts a large number of visitors, both Thai and foreign, making it one of the most visited attractions in Chiang Rai.
  • Name: Wat Rong Khun, "the White Temple"
  • Date: Complete reconstruction began in the late 20th century
  • Location: On Highway 1 (Phahonyothin Road) 15 kilometers southwest of Chiang Rai city

A Unique Temple

Wat Rong Khun is a unique temple distinguished by its white color and the use of glass pieces in the plaster, sparkling in the sunlight. The white color symbolizes the purity of the Buddha, while the glass symbolizes the Buddha's wisdom and the Dhamma, the Buddhist teachings.

Wat Rong Khun was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a renowned Thai visual artist. To this day, the temple remains unfinished. Ultimately, it will include nine buildings, including an ubosot, a hall where Buddhist relics will be kept, a meditation hall, monks' living quarters, and an art gallery.

On May 5, 2014, a strong earthquake struck Chiang Rai. Although the White Temple was severely damaged, Chalermchai Kositpipat decided to restore and expand Wat Rong Khun.

The History of Wat Rong Khun

By the end of the 20th century, the original Wat Rong Khun was in very poor condition. Restoration work on the temple began but had to be halted due to lack of funds.

Chalermchai Kositpipat, an artist born in Chiang Rai, decided to completely rebuild the temple and fund the project with his own money. The artist constructed the temple to serve as a center for learning and meditation, where people could benefit from Buddhist teachings. Today, the work continues.

The Temple's Structures and Their Symbolism

Every detail of the temple and its structures, such as the "cycle of rebirth" bridge and the "gate of heaven," carries meaning and encourages visitors to contemplate Buddhist teachings that show the way to escape the temptations, desires, and greed of the world and instead focus on the mind.


Wat Rong Khun is located just off Highway 1 (Phahonyothin Road), about 15 kilometers southwest of Chiang Rai city.

How to Get to Wat Rong Khun

The most comfortable way to get there is by taking an air-conditioned private taxi. The journey from the city takes about 20 minutes, and the fare ranges from 250 to 300 baht. Most hotels in Chiang Rai can arrange one.

Getting to the White Temple using public transportation is quite easy. Buses depart from the old bus station near the night bazaar in the city center of Chiang Rai. The journey takes about 30 minutes, and the fare is 20 baht for a one-way trip.

You can also rent a blue songthaew at the old bus station for about 300 baht.

Opening Hours

The temple is open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
The White Temple is heavily visited by foreign tourists and Thais, with Thais especially during weekends and Thai national holidays. The site can get quite crowded.

A gallery on the premises sells artworks by the temple's designer, Chalermchai Kositpipat. The gallery closes at 5:30 pm.

Please dress respectfully, meaning no revealing clothing. Remove your shoes before entering a temple. Taking photos inside the main building is prohibited.

Souvenirs, coffee, and snacks are available on-site.

Admission Fees

The entrance fee at the ticket booth is (Thai baht):

  • Adult: 50 Baht
  • Child: 50 Baht

Donations for the construction and maintenance of the temple are welcome.

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