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:

A few days in Bangkok
Mastering Pad Thai
Capture the Colour
Cambodian Genocide

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