• Discover the Colors of Chiang Rai White Black Blue and More

Discover the Colors of Chiang Rai: White, Black, Blue and More

Temples in Thailand

Words: Sirimaya
Photos: Phuwadol Jankhum
Published: November 29, 2018

Chiang Rai is home to several dozen well-known artists, including two of Thailand’s national artists Chalermchai Kositpipat and the late Thawan Duchanee, creators of Chiang Rai’s iconic colors of black and white.

A former Lanna capital, Chiang Rai is a charming destination, boasting a laid-back atmosphere with its hills and invigorating breezes and a strong Lanna heritage with its own art and architectural styles, traditions and languages. Its geographical location bordering Myanmar to the north and Laos to the east as well as an ethnic diversity in its people including those of hilltribe and Chinese lineage contribute to its fascinating cultural mix.

But Chiang Rai will never be the same, following the recent epic multinational operation that successfully rescued the 12 boys of Mu Pa or Wild Boars youth football team and their coach trapped in flooded Tham Luang cave in Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park.

Now, with at least half a dozen cave-rescue movies in the works, we can expect to see more Thai and foreign visitors travelling to this northernmost province of Thailand…to discover the colors of Chiang Rai: White, Black, Blue and more.

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)

Discover the Colors of Chiang Rai: White, Black, Blue and More
Discover the Colors of Chiang Rai White Black Blue and More

The glistening structure of Wat Rong Khun, better known as the White Temple, is a masterpiece of Chalermchai Kositpipat. With work on the temple set to go on until 2070, there’s always new structures or building to be admired. Latest addition is the Hall of Masterwork, an art gallery showcasing the original painting of Chalermchai. On most days, the master himself will be seen working around the temple. He’s very friendly so don’t be shy to approach him for a photo or an autograph, which he will sign for you using his very own shimmering gold ink pen.

Baan Dam (Black House)

Discover the Colors of Chiang Rai White Black Blue and More
Discover the Colors of Chiang Rai White Black Blue and More

The museum of Baan Dam, also known the Black House, is a masterpiece of the late Thawan Duchanee (1939-2014). There’re old Thai houses, all painted in black and a cluster of futuristic structures, all in white. Inside, there’re carvings, art pieces and sculptures in different shapes and forms with many made up of animal skins, bones and skulls. The place seems eerie at times with its dark features. But as you walk out one door through another seeing items on display, you may feel relaxed and calm as you contemplate life that was (of animal’s remains) and that is (of your own).

Wat Rong Suea Ten (Blue Temple)

Discover the Colors of Chiang Rai White Black Blue and More
Discover the Colors of Chiang Rai White Black Blue and More

The stunning ordination hall of Wat Rong Suea Ten, also known as the Blue Temple, is created by another Chiang Rai-born artist, Buddha Kabkaew. Distinguished exterior with its striking blue and gold as well as Buddha images and gigantic statues of beings from Thai mythology. The interior offers a more peaceful feel with the towering white principle Buddha image and colorful murals. If you want great photos, go in the morning as the sun is at the front of the building.

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JJ Green – Chatuchak Green
Asiatique The Riverfront
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