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Visit the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, Thailand: the ultimate guide

You’re planning a trip to Thailand, and more specifically to Chiang Rai, and would like to visit the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun. Find out in this article all you need to know about visiting the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

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Like me, you’ve probably already seen a photo of it on Instagram or another blog. I must admit, I was very intrigued by its architecture. So when the opportunity arose for me to visit Chiang Mai’s White Temple, I didn’t hesitate.

Discover in this article, a short guide on how to visit Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Mai. I share with you my experience and my tips for a top visit!

Visit the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Wat Rong Khun / the White Temple

Wat Rong Khun is a Buddhist temple known for its distinctive architecture and white color. The White Temple is located a few kilometers from the city of Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand.

At the end of the 1990s, a local artist decided to renovate the White Temple himself, as it was in a poor state of repair at the time. He also decided to create a meditation learning center.

The different parts that make up Wat Rong Khun temple each have a particular meaning. Here’s a brief summary of their significance.

Cycle of Life Bridge I This is the small bridge that leads into the main part of the temple. This bridge crosses over a small lake filled with hands trying to catch something. These hands symbolize boundless desire. It also symbolizes the passage to happiness by overcoming temptation, desire and greed.

Gateway to paradise I After crossing the bridge, you arrive at the gateway to paradise. This gate is guarded by two statues representing death and Rahu (celestial body representing materialism, fear, obsession and confusion).

The golden building I This first building symbolizes the body. The golden color represents how people focus on materialism and money.

Ubosot I Ubosot is the main building, which is completely white. Its white color symbolizes the spirit. It shows the power that can be developed by concentrating on the spirit instead of material possessions.

How much does a visit cost? Opening hours

Visiting Chiang Mai’s White Temple costs 100 baht per person for foreign visitors.The temple is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm.

How to visit the White Temple

There are several ways to visit the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Some are more expensive than others. Here’s a brief summary of the different possibilities:

Organized excursion from Chiang Mai:

This is one of the most popular options. There are many organizations offering tours of the White Temple from Chiang Mai. Generally speaking, this is an all-day excursion that allows you to discover other temples in Chiang Rai.

Here are a few excursions I’d recommend if you’d like to visit the White Temple in this way.

Public transport or cabs from Chiang Rai

The White Temple is easily accessible by public transport from Chiang Rai. All you need to do is get to the number 1 bus terminal in the center of Chiang Rai. Once there, look for the bus that says “White Temple” and you’re there. The journey costs around HHHH. To return to Chiang Rai, you’ll need to head for the police station, a 2-minute walk from the temple. From there, you’ll be on the side of the main road and the buses will be able to see you!

Cab / Grab is the easiest and most cost-effective option if there’s more than one of you. I strongly recommend using the GRAB app (Asian version of Uber) to avoid any nasty surprises with the fares.

Rent a scooter

The final option is to rent a scooter. This option gives you a lot of freedom as to when you want to get to the White Temple and how long you want to stay.

You’ll find plenty of places to hire a scooter in Chiang Rai. The cost varies between 6-9 CHF/EURO per day, depending on where you rent it.

My advice

Early morning I If you want to visit the White Temple with as few people as possible, I strongly advise you to get there early in the morning. It’s also possible to take great photos from outside if you come outside opening hours.

Respectful dress I As when visiting any temple in Thailand and Asia. It’s compulsory to cover your knees and shoulders. Bring appropriate clothing or a sarong to cover up. These can also be purchased locally.

Take something to drink I It’s very, very hot and humid. So remember to take something to keep hydrated. There are a few food stores in the vicinity, should you need them.

Know the symbolism I I highly recommend reading up on the meaning of the different parts of the temple. It’s very interesting and will make your visit even richer.

My experience / opinion

My opinion of the White Temple is rather divided, I must confess. I liked it a lot for its architecture and also for the significance of the different parts of the Temple. But I also found it very crowded compared with other temples in Chiang Rai and Thailand in general. Although this temple is magnificent, I’m not sure I’d make the journey expressly just to visit it from Chiang Mai or another part of Thailand.

In my opinion, it’s best to stay a few days in Chiang Rai to visit the White Temple and the surrounding area, which are also well worth a visit. Find out here how to spend 2 days in Chiang Rai.

Want to discover Thailand?

🏞 Chiang Rai I How to spend 2 days in Chiang Rai – Best things to do in Chiang Rai
🐘 Pai I The best things to do 
🗺️ Itineraries I
🇹🇭 General information I How to move around Thailand – Visiting Thailand as a solo travele

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