The White Temple / It's a small world

Trip Start Mar 18, 2013
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Trip End Jun 10, 2013


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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The White Temple caught my eye when one of my Dutch friends skimmed through her pictures to show me something. I had to stop her and get a better look at it and I knew there and then that I couldn't leave Northern Thailand without seeing it. 

I had lost my confidence a little after my overnight trip to Mae Rim. It had me feeling like I'd been deserted by civilisation. There was no access by buses or other public transport so I made things easier for myself by booking a tour to the hot springs, the White Temple and The Golden Triangle via Long Neck Hilltribes and some other filler items. I wasn't interested in taking up the whistle stop tour agenda that had been laid out and arranged to be dropped off at The White Temple for the full day and collected from there at the end of the tour that the others went on, so I could take my time. 

On the bus I met yet another Dutch traveller; also a young woman from a town very close to home, who was intentionally travelling alone like me to see if she could do it. She was ten years younger than me and I was very impressed that she had the confidence to do that at her age as I have recently had to admit to myself that I probably didn't have this at 18. They thought me rather odd at the time when I got off the bus knowing that I would miss most of the tour but at the end of the day when we reflected on how we had spent our time, they could see my logic as they had spent most of their day on the bus and not more than half an hour in each place. Also, their experience with the long neck tribes was as I had expected, like driving through a human zoo and tipping the animals. Something I have deliberately avoided as, though I know it is a source of income for tribes, it still feels exploitative to me. 

The White Temple itself has a different feel to others as it is only ten or so years old. It is custom made by an artist and is more a political and artistic statement than a place of worship but is treated with the customary respect and does house Buddha images in the main chamber. The detail and craftsmanship is fantastic and it really does needs a few hours to really take it in.  
 The detail down to the skulls on the traffic cones by the main roadside is great. Inside there are detailed and fantastical images of people worshiping the Buddha in floral spacecraft and the art isn't finished yet. I spent quite some time watching someone color in the designs. On the back wall is a strange assortment of characters from Batman to Harry Potter and Michael Jackson. It is odd but skilfully painted. There are some art galleries there too with some of the most imaginative and amazing artwork I have ever seen. 

The White Temple holds appeal for temple trekkers like myself but art lovers and atheists alike would marvel at it too for the sense of irony and humour it encompasses. I was very travel sick in the mini bus. I seem to stop forgetting how travel sick I can get. I will have to carefully plan my trip to avoid further distress like I had on the way back from the north when the tourist in front of me kept moving his head to block my view through the front windscreen which was the only thing making the long drive bearable. 

It had been a long day but I then went exploring the new market that had popped up in town afterwards with my new local friend and indulged in a bit of "normal" conversation i.e. no accents or regional slang barred from the conversation. Simple pleasures and tasty dinners are a nice indulgence!
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Comments

Rocky on

Keep the updates coming, I have to live vicariously through you on this journey :)

Missy on

That makes two of us. Hahaha :)

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