Not the most famous temple in South East Asia but certainly one of the most spectacular, Chang Mai’s White Temple, Wat Rong Khun, is actually a privately owned art exhibition, built in the style of a Buddhist temple.
Free to visit for tourists and open all year round, the temple is based around structures and symbols.
The bridge symbolises the cycle of rebirth and is surrounded by thousands of hands that are symbols of unrestrained desire. In order to reach the ‘gate of heaven’, one must surpass these hands of desire and in doing so, forego temptation and greed.
The inside of the main building is particularly interesting, however since a destructive earthquake that took place in 2008, the Ubosot can only be seen from the outside. What remains inside is a symbol of the wickedness of humans – murals of fire, nuclear warfare, oil pumps and terrorist attacks are interspersed with Western idols such as Michael Jackson, Harry Potter and even Freddy Kruger.
The golden building stands out among the rest due to its colour and is a symbol of the body, rather than the white structures which are said to symbolise the mind.
This spectacular exhibition is a must see if you are interested in architecture or Thai culture at all. The details are so intricate and the symbolism is both interesting and hard hitting. We would hugely recommend paying Wat Rong Khun a visit!