White Temple and Black House

Chiang Mai Tour Black house

People visiting my tour agency and guesthouse often ask me a lot of questions about the White Temple and The Black House and I think that many tourist don’t really understand what these buildings are. So I will try in this blog to give you a clearer picture of what to expect when visiting these very special places.

It all started with Chiang Rai artist Thawan Duchanee, famous for his unique artistic style. Thawan was the first engraver using a new technique. He used a special ballpoint pen to create engravings containing millions of strokes. After working in this way for a while, a doctor suggested him to stop because the way he worked had a disastrous effect on his health.

The unique characteristic of Thawan’s painting including not only form and religious story but also the color he used. After learning about Chinese, Indian and Japanese artworks which characteristic is monochrome painting, he was inspired to paint in black and white in order to precisely express the inner feeling.

Thawan is not only famous for his paintings but also architecture. His architectural masterpiece is the Black House, which took him 50 years to complete. It was the residence for Thawan for the rest of his life, Thawan Duchanee passed away in 2014.

What most people don’t know is that the White Temple is also an art museum build by another famous Thai Buddhist artist named Chalermchai Kositpipat. He started building this fantastic Temple 20 years ago and they are still working on it today. His goal is to put Thai Buddhist arts on the international map and to create a place that people from all over the world admire and want to visit, a place like the Taj Mahal or Angkor Wat but then in Thailand.

From outside the White Temple looks stunning with its thousands of small mirrors shimmering in the sunlight but most people are even more blown away after they went inside the building. Nobody expects mural paintings of Michael Jackson, Osama Bin Laden, the Twin Towers, The Matrix and Spiderman. You can look at his paintings for hours and find something new every time.

Chiang Mai White Temple

While visiting the White Temple you will probably see that Chalermchai and his staff are still working on the Temple and other buildings in the area. They are constantly renovating, painting and cleaning the Temple and adding new parts to this incredible project. He believes that only his death can stop his dreams but not his project, and that the White Temple will give him eternal life.

So these structures are not just Temples and also the atmosphere at these places will be very different than any other Buddhist Temple in Thailand. But if you are interested in architecture and art and want to see something completely different than anything you have seen before,

The White Temple and The Black House will be a great experience. Click through to the tour page and join our Chiang Rai – White Temple, Black house and Blue Temple tour and learn more about these two fascinating Thai artists.