Day One: Northern Thailand

Here we go. Off to the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). Taking the highway one from Chiang Rai, it takes about 20 minutes to get there and the best part is that it is free. On the road by the temple the road cones have skulls on their tops, this is ward off evil spirits.

Skull
Skull

The temple building is spectacular and the designer Chalermchai Kositpipat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalermchai_Kositpipat.

The White Temple
The White Temple

Wat Rong Khun, to give it its full title, has the uncanny quality of appearing to be bigger and more important the longer one spends here. Bigger because everywhere you turn there are new features to see, from the shoals of white and silver carp under the fountains to the incredibly lifelike statue of the much revered local monk, the late Prakoo Sawai, facing every visitor.

The White Temple encourages us to think as well as gaze. You approach the entrance past a sea of 500 hands clawing at the air, punctuated by the occasional face in torment— “The Beauty of Anguish.” Does this portray sinners craving redemption?

Reaching Hands
Reaching Hands

Chalermchai, in his wisdom, leaves us to guess. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the central hall with its unique, potentially shocking, murals. A skull is in place over the entrance where you might expect a serene Buddha. New York’s Twin Towers are depicted—one on fire, one with an airliner fast approaching. Spiderman and an easily-recognizable George W. Bush are seen amid images of warfare.

It is a must visit for anyone in Chiang Rai.

We moved onto the hills looking for hill tribes. We found the authentic people of the Akha and Yao.

Yao Hill Tribe Lady
Yao Hill Tribe Lady

I will be uploading a gallery of pictures at a later date.

Keep Shooting

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