Thailand’s White Temple, Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น)
Located near the city of Chiang Rai, Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น)—known outside Thailand as the “White Temple”—stands as an unusual and beautiful mix of traditional Thai architecture and modern-day science fiction memorabilia. It was designed by painter-turned-architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, one of Thailand’s most renowned architects, who set out to create one of the most elegant temples in Chiang Rai.
The temple’s white color symbolizes purity; its glittering glass signifies the teachings of the Buddha; and the moat filled with outreaching arms represents desire. Detailed sculptures of skulls, demons and severed heads are also scattered around the premises. Perhaps most interestingly, a mural inside with images of Batman, Superman, and even the alien from Predator tell a modern-day story of Buddha.
Construction on Wat Rong Khun began in 1996 and is expected to finish in 2070, long after Kositpipat has passed. Plans include nine buildings built on an area of about 3 acres, and though it is a work in progress, the temple attracts an increasingly large number of visitors every year—many of whom share their visit to the temple on Instagram.