When Reality Meets Fantasy

Who wouldn’t like to visit a world of wizards, fairies and dragons? A place where all the fantasy novels happen? I would! And recently kind of did.

Last week we came across one of the most fascinating temples we have ever seen. A place that draws a fine line between reality and fantasy: The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

The contemporary artist, Chalermchicai Kositpipat, didn’t lack imagination. This place is absolutely unconventional compared to the typical Buddhist temple.

The building is relatively new (1997). It is completely white with sparkling reflections from mirrored glass mosaics embedded in the surface. Every single part is detailed to perfection.

The path leading to the main entrance of the chapel is mind-blowing! This is the place where everyone wants to take their picture… I have to admit that to get the shot below, without anyone around, I waited a good 20 minutes. Sometimes that is the price I pay to capture the photo I want (or should I say the price Adam has to pay, since he has to stand around waiting, haha).

The passage is bordered by two giant horns and God-like statues. As we walked in, we found ourselves surrounded by pleading arms and hands coming from the ground.

Between the hands and the bridge, we found some freaky faces and skeletons; a place, I assume is representing a sort of hell.

We were finally inside the temple. The first think we noticed was a Buddha altar at the front with several Thai’s praying on hands and knees. Then we turned to find our biggest surprise: Michael Jackson and Kung Fu Panda! Yup. We thought the same as you are probably thinking, uhhhh?! The wall was painted with a huge mural full of all kinds of random stuff: space ships, Harry Potter, Superman, Neo from the Matrix, you name it! The joke was on us!

The temple is surrounded by a huge fish pond with fountains made of dragon heads and gorgeous, ornate statues.

Outside of the temple, people have the option to do a ritual and send a message to the gods. They buy a sort of heart-shaped aluminum hanger and write whatever they want on it. Later, they place it in a giant bell, adding it to the many others.

If this is not eccentric enough for you, another remarkable building next to the temple is a golden toilet. Most likely the nicest toilet you will find in Thailand!

The artist’s ability to create something unique, unconventional and modern is quite admirable. (it also is nice that entrance to the temple is free!) This is a must see if you come to Thailand!

Related posts:

Searching for Dragons (Part 3)
Border Run and Palm Reading in Myanmar
Why I didn’t love Laos
Treating Ourselves in Ha Long Bay: Photo Essay

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Comments To This Entry.
  1. Binny July 23, 2012 Reply

    Wow, you describe it so well, I feel I’ve been there already! Gorgeous Great Gargoyles!

    • Pamela July 23, 2012 Reply

      Thanks Binny!

  2. Andy July 23, 2012 Reply

    In the picture of the hands is there just a single red painted nail on the hand giving us the finger?
    What an intricate temple.

    • Pamela July 23, 2012 Reply

      Yes! you’re very observant ;)

      • Andy July 24, 2012 Reply

        Hey Pamela,
        I am only seeing the text of your responses after I hit “reply” to them. Tell that IT Dept husband of yours to get on it.

  3. Adam D August 9, 2012 Reply

    holy jeez that place is awesome looking….i kinda felt like I was on drugs a little bit looking at the photos! Neo and Kung-Fu Panda….awesome. Great post guys!

    • Pamela August 9, 2012 Reply

      Yes, the place by itself blows your mind, no drugs needed to trip here.

  4. Wow, how did you manage to get a photo inside?!

    When we were there last August, there was a big sign saying no photography inside, and a very stern-looking guard making sure that people put their cameras away before entering! LOL!
    Nicole Rossetti le Strange recently posted..Thailand From The Inside…My Profile

  5. Ross January 5, 2014 Reply

    That is some temple. So intricate and it seems so crazy compared to the ancient temples. The red nail somebody painted is class.

  6. Miles of Happiness December 17, 2014 Reply

    indeed, Chiang Mai is wonderful !

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