Wat Rong Khun, or the "White Temple," is a major tourist attraction not far from Chiang Rai city. On May 5, 2014, the temple was damaged by a powerful earthquake. Repairs will take 3 years, but the temple will be open to the public as usual.
The temple is the brainchild of painter-architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, with contruction beginning as recently as 1997 and still ongoing in 2014. The exit at the rear of the temple leads conveniently to an art gallery featuring works by Chalermchai, who also designed Chiang Rai's ornate clock tower.
Wat Rong Khun includes most of the features of a traditional temple, but is completely white and constructed in a highly ornate modern-Gothic style. It could be considered a monument to kitsch, but it does have a kind of weird, fairytale beauty about it and makes for excellent photos. Even the fish in the pond are white and ornate.
The temple is 13km south of the town and can be reached by catching one of the regular buses to Chiang Mai.
Updated: May 11, 2014.