I recently shared with you my experience of visiting the White Temple in Chiang Rai – a fantastical location reminiscent of something Gaudi or Dali might have been happy to have their names associated with.
There is another, slightly less visited and more off the beaten path arty type temple in Chiang Rai – the Black Temple or Black House.
This isn’t actually a temple at all, being instead the place where Thai artist Thawan Duchanee houses both himself and all his artistic endeavours in one, deeply odd place.
It is built in the style of a temple (and a feasting hall of Viking proportions, from what I could tell), and is very much worth your time to visit.
It was in fact my preferred of the two – the main reason for this being that it was overall a far more serene experience, with buildings set amongst large shady trees, and none of the crowds of the white temple.
The serene nature of the black temple was slightly jarred by the huge number of animal bones making up most of the place (the locals refer to the White Temple as Heaven and the Black Temple as Hell), but that aside, I can definitely recommend making the extra effort to fit both into your itinerary.
And now, for some photos to help explain why you shouldn’t miss the Black Temple.
A photo tour of the Black Temple
There were plenty of buildings of unknown purpose dotted around. Presumably for bone storage or something.
A guest room for very tall people. Even Vera had no problems with this doorway.
The roofs were very cool!
Even artists need toilets.
Looking into the great hall
I wasn’t totally convinced about the table cloth.
Looking out of the great hall
Yep, it appears to be a large whale room.
The interior of the great hall was a bit odd, too.
The main hall from the outside. I loved all the wood.
An outside area for sitting and relaxing, playing the drums, and peering at an enormous collection of animal heads.
Visiting the black temple of Chiang Rai
The black temple of Chiang Rai is a little off the beaten track, but not impossible to visit. Obviously the easiest way is to get a taxi from Chiang Rai but this isn’t going to be the most cost effective way.
You can instead get a public bus from the Chiang Rai bus terminal. Ask at the counter for the black house / black temple, or the official name, Bandaam Museum, and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
Let the driver know where you re going, and you’ll be dropped off on the highway, with a 500m walk down a local road to your destination. Repeat the same in reverse to get back.
When we visited admission was free, however recent visitors have let us know that as of 2022 it costs 80 baht per adult to visit the temple. We have also been informed that there is a big art exhibition in the car park which is well worth looking at.
Our visit to the black and white temples of Chiang Rai were put together by the Tourism Authority of Thailand – big thanks to them for the support. We’d love to hear your opinions of this post – is this somewhere you’d consider visiting? Let us know in the comments below!