Day 34: Chiang Rai & The White Temple

“If you want to reach Heaven you must go through Hell”

That is the quote that got stuck in my mind after visiting the White Temple. A strange and unusual, artistic temple mixing tradition and modernity, this place most of all screams wide imagination of Chalermchai Kositpipat, the Thai designer who conceived this project.


The White temple is divided into 3 parts:

  1. Hell
  2. The way to Nirvana guarded by the Nagas
  3. The home of Buddha (Heaven)

The idea behind this creation was to show that what retains Human souls to be reincarnated are human frustrations such as your job, money, family, etc. And as long as you are stuck to these frustrations you keep on reincarnating in good or bad. But once your soul is set free form these evil thoughts then are above all and can pass through to Nirvana. And that’s what Buddha did.



In the mythology of the Buddha, he said 48 days under a tree meditating. Once he finished he reached a stage called illumination and became the “Awaken one”. He then started to preach his philosophy all over Asia.

The white temple is only the first site as there are 8 others under construction. But they will be finished by 2070. Hopefully I’ll live that long to see it!

Kositpipat, the Thai designer, is from Chiang Rai. Although he is not religious, he wanted to provide a vivi intense and real experience of what Buddhism is about. As for me, I drew the conclusion that you only know the value of happiness when you lose it and when we experience pain and suffer.


We also had a look at his exhibition. He made quite a lot of different paintings. Very abstract and psychedelic with many themes related to Buddhism and politics. He seems to be a crazy genius! Probably gonna enquire this guy!

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In the evening, we went to the night market. Nothing crazy, always the same cheap souvenirs, trannies, street food. Chiang Rai was quite boring.

Tomorrow we have a 15 hour journey to Laos.

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