I kind of had planned to get an early start to go to the Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) . However, when the hotel staff started to chatter away in front of my room at 5:30 in the morning, I thought it was a bit too early.
But then again, at least I would get there early and beat the crowd. I was at breakfast by 7.00 and off to a new adventure by 7.30. Who ever said that going to the temple should be without suffering?
I knew that the local bus would cost around THB 20 to get me there, but since I had some sore muscles from my city walk the day before I was prepared to pay for a taxi. The driver wanted THB 150 for one way that I did not think was reasonable (I would have gone for THB 100), so I set out walking to the bus terminal. Once there the touts were all over me to get me on a minibus. I don’t like minibuses. And I don’t like touts. I was more or less the only foreigner at the station at this hour and soon a friendly man took pity on me and pointed me in the right direction and to the right public bus.
The local blue bus was going to leave by 8.30 (the same as the minibus). We left on time and about 25 minutes later or so the driver and the conductor motioned me to get off at the next intersection. I had only seen one sign for the temple and was not really sure what to look for once I got off. But as soon as traffic cleared I could see the street leading to the temple. It was lined with minibuses, taxis, tuktuks, private cars, and people. I was by no means an early bird. There were hordes of tourists who had arrived much earlier than me.
So many posts have been written about the white temple. There is not much more to say. I it is magnificent. It is like a fairy tale.
Once through the entrance, you arrive in a fantastical world of Chalermchai Kositpipat imagination. Every detail is another reference to modern and past lives and influences while at the same time it is a place of worship. Unfortunately some foreigners and Chinese forget that. The inner sanctuary is photo-free.
It shows amazing paintings and a contrast between the Buddha in the light and on the opposite wall, the dark, evil. Both of which are within all of us.
Unfortunately, the incredibly beautifully designed toilets were closed for renovation and therefore not accessible. They are so famous that there are featured on postcards. But then the temporary toilets sport some funky statues at the door.
Inside though it is just a regular toilet block. White and clean. And if you don’t get run over by a Chinese woman trying to get into your stall before you can get out – as it happened to me -, it is a rather uneventful experience.
The museum with Chalermchai’s art is worth a visit and I made a note to research him some more. I was already impressed with his work at MOCA, museum of contemporary art in Bangkok, that I probably should visit again. Some of the paintings need contemplation, but unfortunately it was not allowed to take any pictures. I will have to let my imagination go wild.
All the details of the temple ground are astounding. When I left I noticed the no parking “signs”.