CHIANG RAI – Wat Rong Khun Temple aka White Temple in Phan, Chiang Rai has begun collecting an entrance fee from foreign visitors, who have continued flocking to one of the provinceâ€™s most popular destinations.
National Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, who created Wat Rong Khun, activated the entrance fee collection on October 1. Foreign visitors now pay 50 baht while Thais remain exempt.
Despite the fee collection, a big crowd of visitors, both Thai and foreign, have arrived at the temple, largely due to the fact that it was Chinaâ€™s National Day and Chinese tourists are here on holiday.
The fee collection has been implemented only for visits to the White Temple, while other areas, including the exhibition hall and the templeâ€™s surrounding grounds, are open free of charge.
Mr. Chalermchai said that, in the 20 years since the temple was built, fee collection has only just begun and it has not deterred visitors.
He added that the temple bears monthly costs of 4.5 million to six million baht, which is for ongoing construction projects and utilities, while the sum gained from the entrance fee is intended to help the temple handle the arrival of visitors.
Some overseas visitors say that the fee of 50 baht remains low as it could be as high as 100 baht or even 200 baht.