When it comes to sights that are a bit “outside of the norm”, temples or churches wouldn’t be the first thing on one’s mind.

Actually: Thai temples can be quite stunning for a number of reasons, one of them is “being strange”!

When you are spending part of your holiday in Thailand’s northern region, especially in and around Chinag Rai, one of the most popular – yet extraordinary – sights to see is Wat Rong Khun or “the White Temple”.

This is really as “special” as it can possibly get when you talk about sacred sites of Thailand!

Only if you squint your eyes really hard, the outer shape and form of the temple (which has been under construction since 1996 and might be finished not earlier than 2070!) MAY bear some resemblance to “typical” Buddhist temples you may have seen…and that is it, right there.

Mystical creatures

Everything about this temple is different from other places of worship in the kingdom of Thailand. It starts with the white color, which represents the purity of Buddha. It is full of symbolism with comic-like pictures and statues.

A section of the temple symbolizes the world we live in. Another shows the challenges of a devoted- lifestyle of Buddhists. Of course, there is a bridge to Nirvana and a (very interesting and somehow “funny”) depiction of hell.

Hell- according to K' Chalermchai

The architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous visual artist and painter, also incorporates some superheroes and even the movie character “Neo” from the trilogy “The Matrix” into the paintings inside the temple. For him, the temple is not only a unique piece of art, but also a way to immortality. His famous quote Only death can stop my dream, but cannot stop my project,” (along with the immortality wish) may sound a bit vain but if you take a closer look, it is all but that.

For example, the temple does not accept donations of more than 10,000 Baht (about $ 250) and no name of the donors will be mentioned anywhere in the temple. Maybe this is one reason why the construction takes longer than usual. Five years of construction and 18 million Baht after the start of the project saw only 50% of the temple completed.

Over the years, Chalermchai and his vision as well as the uniqueness of the temple has gathered a large following of eagerly devoted pupils, who vowed to continue this project, even if the master may have passed on. And if it is true that the temple may be finished by 2070,  you will really be watching “history in the making”! Apart from that, it makes an excellent and rather bizarre photo opportunity!

Gods and demons