Susan ar Strae 2009 travel blog

The remarkable Wat Rong Khun 'The White Temple' just outside Chiang Rai

Entrance to Wat Rong Khun 'The White Temple' just outside Chiang Rai

Hell and damnation..hands screaming to be released from 'hell'

Wat Rong Khun White Temple Chiang Rai

Fountains in The White Temple Chiang Rai

White Buddha in Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rung Khun - Still not finished

Close up of Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun under a blue sky Chiang Rai

Fashionable gold loos in the White Temple.. representing purity of the body!

The skirt was a Temple Addition.. not surprising it too was white...

Wat Rong Khun.. can't remember why this is gold..

T-shirt on sale

Local bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong.. driver has his own...

School's out.. young monks with their satchels in Chiang Khong

















Even in Laos they are getting people to switch or open bank...

I had read about The White Temple a few days before reaching Chiang Rai and hired a red taxi to bring me to it. It was so worth the visit and incredibly it's not in the Lonely Planet??! This is a new temple - only 12 years old and the mastermind project of one of Thailand's best known buddhist artists - Chalermchai Kositpipat. It's a bit like a Gaudi project in that it won't be finished til 2070 so he is unlikely to see his life's work completed. This chap is from Chiang Rai so it's a bit of a mission for God, Buddha and Hometown for him.

After a while one does suffer Wat Fatigue so this White Temple is really memorable and stunning when I saw it in bright sunshine under blue skies. White being the symbol of purity. There is also an unusual bridge you walk over with hands flying up - representing hell and damnation I suspect. The message is clear. To get to Buddha, one has to go through lots of suffering.

You will notice the only gold building are the loos which were definitely the fanciest I had seen since arriving in Asia :-)

From there on it was a local bus to Chiang Khong to cross from there into Laos, into the border town of Huay Xai.

I spent a beautiful evening drinking LAO BEER and watching boat races on the Mekong. An Asian Henley on Thames without the finery. Overnight in Laos I became a millionaire as the currency is 12000 Kip to the euro so I had 2.5million Kip on me at one point.

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