Wat Rong Khun or The White Temple has been shrouded in controversy since a rich Thai businessman bankrolled its construction in 1997 - and its architect and artist Chalermchai Kositpipat - made a significant departure from the original plans.
It is questionable as to whether traditional Buddhists hold the artist's vision in high regard, but the Temple remains a very attractive curiosity nonetheless. A sea of hands holding skulls awaits your passage over a bridge to the temple, symbolizing hell and the passage to heaven. Once inside, murals feature images from popular culture, Hollywood films and even McDonald's.
The artist's message is about freeing oneself from consumerism. Located about 5 kilometers to the south of Chiang Rai, The White Temple is still under construction with plans to feature a total of nine buildings.