The White Temple or Wat Rong Khun arose from the imagination of Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat which began construction in 1997. Wat Rong Khun is truly a place to put on your “must see” list if you are planning to be in Chang Rai for any length of time. The temple is pure white on the outside with imaginative sculptures and architecture covering the landscape. Departing from the traditional use of gold in temple art, Chalermchai uses pure white with mirrors to symbolize the Lord Buddha's purity and shinning wisdom. The inside temple walls are decorated with superheroes, movie stars and cartoons juxtaposed with traditional Buddhist motifs to symbolize escaping desire, greed and passion and moving along the "right" path through Buddhist teachings.
Chalermchai specializes in Thai modern art, which is expressed mostly in paint but the white temple is his three dimensional expression of Thai-Buddhist imagery. He was recognized by King Rama IV and is considered a national artist.