Wat Rong Khun

Top choice in Chiang Rai Province

Wat Rong Khun’s construction began in 1997 by noted Thai painter turned architect Chalermchai Kositpipat. It's a striking structure that, from a distance, seems to be made of glittering porcelain. A closer look reveals the appearance is due to a combination of whitewash and clear-mirrored chips.

It's located about 13km south of Chiang Rai. To get here, catch any bus from Chiang Rai's interprovincial bus station with 'White Temple' written on it in English (20B, 40 minutes, frequent services from 6.15am to 6.10pm).

To enter the temple, you walk over a bridge and pool of reaching arms (symbolising desire). Inside, instead of the traditional Buddha life depictions, the artist has painted contemporary scenes representing samsara (the realm of rebirth and delusion). Images such as a plane smashing into the Twin Towers sit alongside reproductions of Keanu Reeves as Neo from The Matrix, Elvis, Hello Kitty and Superman, among many others.

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5. Clock Tower


Chiang Rai's 'main' clock tower lights up at night and is a popular photo opportunity.

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Chiang Rai's main market for fresh produce. It's busiest in the morning.

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The older of Chiang Rai's two clock towers.