You won’t struggle to find Buddhist temples in Thailand. They are all over the place, and at first you’ll no doubt be impressed by their shimmering golden roofs or giant Buddha statues inside.

But if you have seen a few then you have kind of seen them all. By the time I got to Chiang Rai in a northern corner of Thailand, I was templed out.

I’m glad I still went to this particular one. The White Temple is the brainchild of a contemporary Thai artist, who began construction in 1997. At first glance, it seems like a majestic and gracious temple like any other… but look at the details, and you realize it’s also kind of insane.

Here’s a picture of the fairy-tale-esque exterior — so far, nothing too out of the ordinary, though it’s obviously an intricately detailed work.

But move a little closer and you’ll find this “pit of hell” below a bridge leading to the temple itself… what?!

And then there’s this…

Buddhism is, of course, an ancient religion based on traditions, beliefs and practices going back thousands of years… which is why inside the temple you’ll find this mural with Neo from The Matrix.

Like… Whoa.

And then there’s a whole bunch of other shit on these temple walls…

Is that an Angry Bird flying into the twin towers? WTF?

While I later learned there is some method to this madness — it’s meant to display the wickedness of modern life — it seemed to me this a Thai geek’s geek’s elaborate excuse to build something he’d think would be cool.

Another case in point, there’s actually this Predator just outside, for no reason at all…

I am not sure what to think.

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