Lonely Planet Writer

Thailand's White Temple to begin charging international travellers an admission fee

Wat Rong Khun – better known to many as the White Temple in Phan, Chiang Rai province of Thailand – will begin charging international visitors an admission fee this weekend.

Located just outside the city of Chiang Rai, Wat Rong Khun has become famous in Thailand as the White Temple.
Located just outside the city of Chiang Rai, Wat Rong Khun has become famous in Thailand as the White Temple. Image by Supoj Buranaprapapong/Getty Images

However, Thai citizens will still be able to access the contemporary and unconventional art exhibit in the Buddhist temple free, the Chiang Rai Times reported. Foreigners will pay a very basic fee – 50 baht (€1.28) – beginning on Saturday, 3 October as part of a new plan to ensure the attraction’s future viability. However, when they hand over their fee, visitors will get a handbook on the temple and a bag.

The artist who founded Wat Rong Khun, Chalermchai Kositpipat, said people behind the project felt it was necessary for the temple to have its own independent finance so that it would continue into the future after he had retired. The renowned national artist and founder explained that while more than a million people presently visit the temple on an annual basis, only a small amount ever buy the photo books on sale which traditionally has been their main source of revenue. After 19 years of free admission, they will now charge at the door with the money collected being used for maintenance and the management of the premises.