The realities of visiting the White Temple Chiang Rai
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So you are thinking of visiting White Temple Chiang Rai? Also known as Wat Rong Khun. This beautiful building lays just outside of Chiang Rai, on the side of the city closest to Chiang Mai. You can travel from Chiang Mai to White Temple pretty easily, you simply book a bus to Chiang Rai with a travel agent or you can go on an organised White Temple tour.
The beauty and splendour of this magnificent building lure tourists and travellers from all around the globe who are dying to visit the beautiful white temple. But everything is not as it seems at the White Temple Chiang Rai…
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While staying at The Holiday Inn Chiangmai we met a lovely Chinese businessman. He was interested in where we would be going next and we told him we were waiting on a mini-bus to take us to Chiang Rai to go from Chiang Mai to White Temple then into Chiang Rai to stay.
“White Temple?” he asked.
Of course our answer was yes. The mini-bus would from Chiang Mai to White Temple stop at the White Temple Chiang Rai briefly before taking us into the city centre of Chiang Rai where we could go find our hotel. He proceeded to explain to us that the place would be overrun with Chinese tourists who had flocked south from China into Northern Thailand after seeing the movie Lost In Thailand. He said it was almost impossible to enjoy it with the number of people being so extremely high there. When inside he told us we would be very disappointed as they had modernised the temple and there were digital clocks, posters of batman and other artefacts that took away from the beauty of the temple.
Getting from Chiang Mai to White Temple
We arrived at the White Temple from Chiang Mai after a few hours of driving through national parks and mountains. The bus parked up not too far from the White Temple and we could already see the hoards of people pushing their way around the queues and into the building. The route to get inside was rather complex and meant you would be waiting to pay in the beating sun for as long as it took. We were not keen after our conversation with the Chinese businessman.
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Alternative things to do
Without going inside you can still get an amazing view of the White Temple Chiang Rai. You can walk all around the front and admire the skull bollards, statues and more while you wait for the bus to leave. I managed to pose with a giant statue during our wait for the bus. There are stores and ATMs nearby too which was really handy in the incredible heat.
We did not feel like we missed out. The people going inside looked sweaty and impatient by the time it was their turn – we were glad not to be in their position. This is especially true if it was like the Chinese businessman said… that inside was all modern and took away from the overall feel of the temple. If you are planning a trip to the Chiang Rai White Temple how to get there is pretty simple if you put the plans into the hands of a tour company.
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Have you been to the White Temple Chiang Rai? What did you think of it?
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