We were cruising by the countryside at breakneck speed. The roads were spotless and it looked like we would cover the distance to Chiang Rai, the border town between Thailand and Myanmar, in no time. I was on a day trip which included a popular hot water spring, the famed golden triangle and a visit to the village of the long neck tribe. I wasn’t so excited about any of this though. The sole reason why I signed up was to see the Wat Rong Khun, or what is popularly known as the White Temple.
I am no fan of architectural works, but it’s hard not to be amazed by this temple. In fact if there is one temple you should visit in Thailand, it is this one (And probably Wat Arun).
We arrived at around 11.00 in the morning, and saw a sea of tripod and selfie-stick toting tourists. Guys, here is a pro tip, arrive early if you want this temple all to yourself. Especially, if you want to take some dreamy shots, with no human heads.
After parking our vehicle, we were given tickets by our tour operator and allocated exactly 40 minutes to roam around. Well, here is another pro-tip, don’t go with a group tour, because you will surely lose track of time and you certainly don’t want to see this temple in haste.
From the second i walked into the temple complex, I was left speechless.
An arched golden tower leads you into the premises. There is a neatly maintained lawn and a pond surrounding the white temple, teeming with colorful fishes.
The marble white exterior of the main temple is an architectural masterpiece, with a zillion statues and faces of demons, the eye for detail more than impressive.
And the white façade just stands out against the blue sky. A photographer can spend an entire day here. Having borrowed a DSLR from my friend, I went totally nuts.
There was a long queue on the bridge that led you inside the main temple. We had to take out our shoes, wrap it in a plastic bag and take it inside with us.
If the exteriors of the temple make you gape in awe with their creative brilliance, the interiors will have your jaws dropping in no time.
Photography wasn’t allowed in the main hall and even though I saw some tourists flouting that rule, I din’t take out my camera.
The moment I walked in, I saw artistic murals, of Kung Fu Panda, Batman, Superman, Michael Jackson, Terminator and Star war characters adorn the walls. In my sheer disbelief I almost missed the seated Golden Buddha inside.
I am all in for standing out from the crowd, but I couldn’t understand if these works were a result of creative ingenuity or meant to send a message to us. I guess only the artist knows better.
As I wandered around, I saw there were other Buddhist towers nearby and all these structures were white. There was a wishing well with a huge bell hanging over it. There was so much more left to explore and I was just about to go to other side of the complex when I heard my name being yelled out.
I saw my friend frantically wave at me. I knew what had happened and rushed immediately. I was late by 15 minutes and every one was apparently pissed at me. Their looks when I entered the van made it very clear.
My friend later told me some of the members of the group had subtly hinted at my lack of punctuality. The lady in charge however made no use of such subtlety.
She gave me a proper dressing down in front of everyone. It almost felt like being yelled at by a teacher in school. I din’t regret being late at all though. A place as beautiful as the white temple certainly deserves more time.
Entrance Fee: INR 100/ USD 2