When at The Riverie, we not only strive to provide you with cultural touches and excellent service—we make sure you get to experience the most unique destinations in Southeast Asia! Only a quick 25-minute drive from The Riverie, the White Temple is a landmark in Chiang Rai you definitely need to catch on your trip to Thailand. If you’ve caught a glimpse of it but aren’t sure about a visit, here are a few interesting facts that’ll get you on the next shuttle down. It was designed and funded by only one person
More impressive than its breathtaking architecture is the fact that the White Temple was created by only one man—Thai national artist Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat. Born and raised in Chiang Rai, Kositpipat has spent his life restoring, developing, and funding the White Temple, known locally as Wat Rong Khun. It boasts a three-tiered roof
The temple’s triple-tiered roof is inspired by traditional Buddhist temples. It’s also adorned with intricate Naga serpents, making for an incredible sight from afar.
Though most Thai temples are embellished with gold trim, the White Temple, as its name suggests, is completely white to represent the purity of the Buddha.
Though they may seem like aesthetic choices to tourists, the temple’s structure, mythical statues, and even positions of each guardian and deity carry significant meaning. Even its restrooms, housed in an entirely golden building, are noteworthy. The White Temple’s all-encompassing theme is escaping greed and desire to move towards enlightenment through the Buddha’s teachings.
Though construction began in 1997, Kositpipat is constantly making alterations to the nine-building compound, along with its surrounding garden. The temple’s main interior features iconic people, including superheroes and cartoons. Its walls are slathered in Buddhist motifs and paintings, along with vibrant scenes in history.
Damaged by an earthquake that struck in 2012, the temple sustained no major structural damages and was reopened to the public shortly after.
While it may be more enriching to view the temple with a tour guide, you can easily walk its grounds yourself. It operates daily from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm and takes the average tourist about 40 minutes to explore the complex in-depth.
On your tour of the White Temple, you’ll also get to enjoy a gift shop filled with mementos along with a small art gallery and onsite cafe. Some tours will take you to the Black House, a completely opposite and intriguing representation of the temple. Upon your visit, be sure to wear polite clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
Bizarre and tantalizing, the White Temple is a tour you don’t want to miss out on during your stay at The Riverie. After a day out on its complex grounds, you can return to incredible views of the Kok River and enjoy an exquisite walk through garden landscapes. If you’re still high on adventure, The Riverie is in close proximity to other unique sights and sounds - book your stay in Chiang Rai today.