Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)

To call Wat Rong Khun bizarre would be quite the understatement.  At this point, living in Thailand for almost a year now, I feel like it takes quite a bit to turn my head.  

I live just down the highway from some old fighter jets left over from what I am going to guess is the Korean or Viet Nam war parked on the side of the road.

There is giant dinosaur just a few hundred meters from that.

Things here are so bizarre at times that I have started to fail to notice just how... unique... Thailand really can be visually.  

Wats are just the same way for me at this point.  They are quite beautiful, and range from the very old, to the ultra modern.  Some have trees growing out of them, and some are on pristine manicured grounds.  After living here for a bit of time, they have all started to blend into one stereotypical Wat, one that is both beautiful but equally indistinguishable from any other in my memory.  There are a few that will always stand out in my mind, such as Doi Suthep, or perhaps the hike to Thom Suea, but that is more for the journey than the actual Wat itself.  

Wat Rong Khun is going to be burned into my memory until I am old and senile.  I think that the best way to describe it would be to say that the artist had his own definition of Buddhism, and it defies what any outsider might say. 

It is unique, bizarre, full of pop culture references, reverent, and rebellious as the same time. 

Honestly, there is no other Wat that I have seen quite like it in all of Thailand.  

Due to a mishap in timing, we were lucky enough to have the Wat all to ourselves for about an hour and a half, to watch the sunrise.  The Wat is covered in little pieces of glass and bits of gold, and watching the east facing sunrise while sipping a coffee in the calm before the tour bus companies arrived was an amazing experience.  

While I know that the website says that Wat Rong Khun opens at 8am, do yourself a favor, and get there at sunrise.  Watching the birds that live in the upper levels of the Wat slowly wake up and head out for the day, and seeing the color of the Wat change from a dull eggshell to a brilliant white is amazing.  









Now, you might be wondering why I added such a bit about how bizarre Wat Rong Khun is in the introduction, and honestly from the photos, you would be right in saying that I made an outlandish claim.  While you can see some of the detailing in the photos that are a bit... different... from normal Wats, I have saved the photos that really set this Wat apart for last.







And yes, of course, after you notice the demon pooping in the last photo, that is indeed a boat bike.