I think possibly one of the biggest surprises was the White Temple when we were on our way to Laos. We had landed in Chiang Mai and to get to the border we drove from there to the border crossing where we were going into the slow boat over the Mekong. Along the way we stopped at the ‘White Temple’ and wow…. I have never seen anything like it! If you are in the Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai region, it is totally worth checking out this weird and wonderful temple.
The temple is designed in 1997, so really quite recent (which is obvious when you walk around) by the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat (whose picture is below..) who is well.. I would call it slightly unconventional. Inside the temple are beautiful painting and if you look closely you will see all sorts of superhero and other movie characters. You didn’t think you would see batman flying around a buddhist temple now did you? No photos were allowed inside, so I can’t show you that..
The man obviously has a fascination for the weird and a fascination for movies. You’ll see a hellraiser head hanging from a tree (and some other characters too) and every step of the way is something to be seen. Little details like the one painted red fingernail on an otherwise grey scene
It’s very very kitsch, but maybe that is also what makes it so special and so different. The man is building a tomb for himself with an oven inside so he can get burned. And he’s really not that old (as far as I can judge from seeing him) but the temple is not yet finished. We had only an hour at the White Temple or Wat Rong Kung, but I would have loved to stay longer. Other than the annoying guard on duty who was telling us to move along and ‘do not stand still’ in some kind of loudspeaker…
In any case I found this a real highlight and worth a detour if you’re closeby!