After spending a year in South Korea and visiting Japan a few times, I'd certainly had my fill of temples. It's not to say that I was "bored" of temples by any means, but more than I had seen hundreds upon hundreds, and so I generally had a hankering for something unique.
We chose this particular route to Laos with the understanding that we would be able to visit "The White Temple." We had heard about this temple from a traveller we had met in Vietnam only weeks earlier. Officially, the temple is known as Wat Rong Khun, but among many travellers and foreigners it's known as the White Temple. This temple was made by the well-known Thai visual artist Chalermchai Kostitpipat not so long ago (1997). He blends together Buddhism, imagination, and surrealism while using the temple as his vehicle.
We arrived to a light rain, and the white of the temple marvelously contrasted the stormy skies above. Immediately, I was taken aback, and I likely would be again if I had the chance to visit sometime in the future. As you cross the bridge towards the temple, suffering hands reach out towards you. Demons and guardians adorn the bridge's rails, along with silvered dragon scales. Symbolic heads hang from trees nearby. The list goes on, and the detail is just astonishing. During my year and half in Asia, it's possible that I saw a thousand temples or more, but none were like this.
Everything catches your attention.