Here’s to the weirdest tourist attraction I’ve visited. It’s so made up and fake, it hurts. It also literally hurts your eyes, because it’s SO WHITE! Wait, what?
The White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun is a very popular tourist
trap attraction of Northern Thailand. You just don’t see the parking lot filled with buses, trust me, they’re there.
The thing is technically not a real temple, it’s a “contemporary art exhibit“. So if you go, don’t expect a temple, it looks like one, but is art. With time, I’ve learnt to not expect anything from anything. Especially art.
Why so dramatic, you may ask? Read on.
Check this out. You see that bridge? There’s apparently a lot of symbolism put to it. At the bottom, those are arms and heads. Yeah. This is what the wiki says: “In front of the bridge are hundreds of outreaching hands that symbolize unrestrained desire. The bridge proclaims that the way to happiness by is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire.” Right.
It gets better. “Inside the temple, the decor swiftly moves from pristine white to fiery and bewildering. Murals depict swirling orange flames and demon faces, interspersed with Western idols such as Michael Jackson, Neo from The Matrix, Freddy Kruger, and a T-800 series Terminator. Images of nuclear warfare, terrorist attacks, and oil pumps hammer home the destructive impact that humans have had on earth. The presence of Harry Potter, Superman, and Hello Kitty confuses the message somewhat, but the overall moral is clear: people are wicked.”
No photos were allowed inside, but thanks to the internet, we can have a look at what the wicked people can come up with if they have lots of money and no sense of appropriateness whatsoever.
But enough ranting. Look at these two cuties instead:
It was so hard to keep eyes open for the photos because the thing is white, it’s embedded with glass mirrors (the darker elements you see on pictures are actually mirror glass). So yours truly looked like a squinching serial killer on all pictures but this one.
White house… If you happen to be around Chiang Mai, do check it out and then go to the Black house for a breath of fresh air, smart witty art and, well, a good contrasting rest to the eyes.