The White Temple And Black House Of Chiang Rai, Thailand

11.April 2013


Coming from a western world there is plenty of strange and unusual to be found here in Thailand without having to look too hard. There isn’t a day goes by without my head being turned by something or other. I try to learn, though, and can usually figure out some reasoning behind what it is I’m seeing.

Both the White Temple and the Black House in Chiang Rai defied all reasoning.

White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand

The gleaming white exterior of the White Temple

Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Gloomy exterior of the Black House

Although seemingly polar opposites of each other (even being located at opposite ends of the town!) they actually are quite similar.

The White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Hell’s Gate walkway to the White Temple.

Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Surprisingly white out buildings at the Black House.

Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Altar (?) within the white domes at the Black House.

White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Close up of Hell’s Gate at the White Temple

Mostly it’s a weirdness that just defies description. A seemingly macabre bent that sits strangely in these places billed as temples.

White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Standing guard at the White Temple

Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Skulls, drums, and skins ‘decorate’ this building at the Black House.

White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand

‘Welcome’ to the White Temple

Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand

In the main hall of the Black House. Adorned with horns from I don’t know what, long stretches of snake skin, and creepy statues.

But also, a certain beauty.

White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Peaceful Buddha image at the White Temple.

Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand

The sun pokes through a smoky haze at the Black House.




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12 Responses to “The White Temple And Black House Of Chiang Rai, Thailand”

  1. emma@gottakeepmovin Says:

    I’ve seen loads of pictures of the White Temple, but not so many of the Black House. Now I have doubled my reasons to go to Chiang Rai! Really beautiful photos and interesting post.
    emma@gottakeepmovin recently posted..Photo Gallery: 23 Photos of Strangers

  2. Carmel Says:

    Maybe we’ve been watching too much Twin Peaks lately, but it reminds me of the White Lodge and Black Lodge they talk about in the show. If you haven’t seen it, this will make no sense.

    Cool shots, though.
    Carmel recently posted..Easter Rising

  3. Kim Says:

    Wow, pretty cool!! Can’t wait to see them with my own eyes.
    Kim recently posted..On being a foreigner

  4. Lawrence Michaels Says:

    I really like the White Temple, it is so different from all the other temples that you visit while in Thailand. Isn’t it still a work in progress?
    Lawrence Michaels recently posted..Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai

  5. Jessica Says:

    Two of my favourite buildings in Thailand – both bizarre and incredibly unique. I love that last shot of the Black House.
    Jessica recently posted..Does Marriage Really Change Everything?

  6. Jemma Says:

    Those two buildings look really amazing! I’ll really try my best to be able to visit Thailand this year. Have you also visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok?
    Jemma recently posted..Manna Sutukil Food House

  7. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) Says:

    My favorite thing about Asia is all of the totally insane temples you can find when you poke around a little off the beaten path. I always love these quirky structures far more than the ones that are praised for their beauty or historical significance… the weirder, the better, I say! :D
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Introducing Chewing the Fat!

  8. Hogga Says:

    the hands are kind of creepy but it is still so beautiful

  9. Claus Gurumeta Says:

    I was at the White temple in November… How did I miss the black house? It looks awesome!

    I loved the white temple, part of it is like something out of a scary movie (the hell part), but the temple itself is beautiful in the same strange way Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is beautiful.

    I also bought a couple pieces of art by the person who designed the temple (forgot his name; I’m sure I could google it, but ah well)… All the buildings in his paintings have the same flame-like abstract shapes as the temple itself. Very cool!

    ps. Did you see the bathrooms made of gold? The artist was trying to make a point that gold / money, in the grand scheme of life / Buddhism, is worth sh*t!
    Claus Gurumeta recently posted..Juneau, USA (August 2012)

  10. Arti Says:

    I loved the white temple. So striking. The architecture is just superb. Thanks for sharing these wonderful captures Gillian :)
    Arti recently posted..‘One Picture From My Photo Album’ Contest!

  11. Stephen S. Says:

    The White Temple is amazing! How could I have never heard of it before? This is going on my list of places to see for sure. Thanks for the info Gillian.
    Stephen S. recently posted..How Two Years of Saving for Travel has Changed Me

  12. Tracey Says:

    I was blown away by the White Temple. I didn’t get to see the Black House! Great reason to go back:)