Explore Northern Thailand’s Majestic Art of the Temples in Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai, another place where the homeland of the top famous artists of Thailand that many of them have a reputation globally. The significant region in the upper north of the country with lots of sights to visit, prominent characteristic in culture and architecture of the Lanna art, also many fabulous Buddhist temples welcome the Buddhist and all visitors to visits all year round. So, here in this article are the Top 10 Must-Visit Temples in Chiang Rai for the tourist who plans the trip to this remarkable province in the northern region of Thailand should put in the to-go-list.
10Wat Ming Mueang
A Buddhist temple in the heart of Chiang Rai city is an ancient monastery with approximately 800 years of the age that counting equally the age of Chiang Rai itself. Wat Ming Mueang accepted as another notable Buddhist art site that any tourists who come to take the tour in Chiang Rai should put in your destination list.
Within the compound contains lots of magnificent architectures that are so exotic and artistic. Phra That Ming Mueang, the Lanna style chedi ornamented with the Burmese tiered umbrella on the top. Vihara Lai Kham, the wooden sanctuary in Lanna and Tai Yai style that is considered the only vihara in the wooden structure existing with the most perfect condition in Chiang Rai.
Interior is a house to enshrine the Buddha image “Luang Pho Phra Sri Ming Mueang,” a stucco image covered with lacquer and gilded on the whole body in the Chiang Saen Type One (Ceylonese Style) aged more than four centuries. The temple is the important holy place and the famous tourist attraction among the foreigners very much since the easily accessible location and also the site would be satisfied with the art and history fan, indeed.
9Wat Phra That Chom Kitti
The vital place to worship of the ancient Chiang Saen Era that was established in 938 by King Phangkarat as a symbol of the victory and independence to Khmer and also the venue to set up any critical religious events and ceremonies in the ancient times. Wat Phra That Chom Kitti situated in Doi Noi in Wiang sub-district, Chiang Saen district presents the distinctive design of the grand pagoda in the golden age of the Lanna Kingdom, but it’s higher and slimmer than others in general.
The squared pagoda with indented corners that furnished with the arched frame of Buddha image beyond is the popular style that crucial influenced to the art of the Lan Xang Kingdom, as well. Inside enshrined the Buddha’s forehead relic; also there’s a massive Buddha statue named “Luang Pho Phuttayonok Mingmongkol Chiang Saen”.
According to the local belief, anyone who does the worship to the sacred pagoda here would be blessed with the honor and splendor. The pagoda, currently, stands nearby the Holy Pond, as well as the old palace that used to be the temple without royal bound Buddhist leaves, too. The top location at the temple is a pleasant scenic point provides the view of the Mekong River without any blockages.
8Wat Phra That Pha Ngao
The ancient temple established since the Yonok Nakara (Chiang Saen) Kingdom. Wat Phra That Pha Ngao is renowned as one of the most famous old temples in Chiang Rai province, assumingly, the monastery was built during 494 – 512 of the Buddhist Century. About the title of the temple derived from the significant stupa “Phra That Pha Ngao” stands elegantly over the massive stone at the rear of the chapel to store the sacred image “Luang Pho Pha Ngao” which is also the highlight of this old holy site, as well.
Formerly, the Buddha image which is a small statue was covered with the large size of Buddha, however, once the covered Buddha was dilapidated, Luang Pho Pha Ngao then came into view at the bottom of the declined figure.
Moreover, at the opposite of the chapel is an exquisite building “the Tripitaka Hall” (the hall for keeping the Buddhist scriptures) in the middle of the pond. Also, at the top of the hill within the monastery complex is “Phra Boromthat Phuttanimit Chedi,” the pagoda structure in pure white color and at this spot features the visitors with the magnificent scenery of the Mekong river which is not less in its beauty than other location, too. Wat Phra That Pha Ngao situated on the western bank of the Mekong River opposite side to Laos. The temple is in the area of Sob Kham Village in Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai.
7Wat Huay Pla Kang
Among the people who know this temple, Wat Huay Pla Kang would remind them about the beauty of “Pob Chok Dharma Chedi,” the 9-tier pagoda that is the splendid mixed of Chinese and Lanna design. The exotic architectural of the art has the figures of the Chinese dragon line along both sides of the stairway to welcome all the visitors to the inside that housed the enormous statue of “the Blessing Quan Yin” made from sandalwood.
Moreover, there is a huge stucco image of “the White Quan Yin” with about 69 meters high that allocated into 23 floors structure as the iconic landmark of the compound, too. For anyone who would like to spot the top-view landscape can go up to the 22nd or 23rd floor providing the heart-taking and distant scenery of Chiang Rai city.
However, the highlight is when the nighttime Wat Huay Pla Kang is even more fabulous since there’s the glamorous lighting shining from the pagoda creating the wonderful picture among the beholder to be hard to take the eyes off this scene.
6Wat Phra That Doi Jom Thong
Wat Phra That Doi Jom Thong or also known as Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong or Wat Phra That Doi Tong in the native language is an ancient monastery that assumed to be established before the time King Mengrai founded the city of Chiang Rai. The main stupa housed the Buddha’s relic that the Lankan senior monk invited from Sri Lanka to present to Phaya Pangkharat of the Yonok Nagabhandu, Singhanavati Kingdom.
The ruler of the ancient Lanna society commanded to allocated the Buddha’s relics into 3 parts and invited to enshrine in three sacred locations that currently are the critical monasteries in Chiang Rai – Phra Maha Chinnathatchao Doi Tung, Phra That Jom Kitti, and Phra That Doi Jom Thong. The important stupa is Burmese style with magnificent pinnacle decorated with the tiered umbrella at the top of the structure.
Phra Vihara or the main chapel of the temple is another fabulous architecture of the place presenting the excellent blending of Lanna and Rattanakosin art. Interior is a house to locate the Buddha statue in the attitude of subduing Mara and the beautiful mural painting about the story of Lord Buddha. Moreover, Wat Phra That Doi Jom Thong is next to the critical location “The Navel City Pillar of Chiang Rai” another famous landmark that the tourists favor to visit. Wat Phra That Doi Jom Thong located at Ban Chom Thong, Wiang district in Chiang Rai.
5Wat Phra That Doi Tung
If referring to the old temples in Chiang Rai province, impossibly to skip “Wat Phra That Doi Tung,” definitely. Due to the important monastery, this one dates back for over the thousand years when the time that the esteemed left collar bone relic of the Gautama Buddha was invited to enshrine at the summit of this mountain.
As well as, the Tung (referred to the Lanna Auspicious Flag) with up to two thousand meters long with the belief that anywhere the tip of the flag reached would be the base of the pagoda. Therefore, the mountain was named “Doi Tung” which means “the mountain of the flag” and assumed a name to the temple that housed the Buddha’s relic as “Wat Phra That Doi Tung” from that time on.
Besides the long history of the holy place, the splendid beauty of the pagoda is second to none with the traditional Lanna art. The Chiang Saen squared stupa with indented corners which similar to one at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai is original and was only one in the ancient Lanna period, then the latter one was constructed by King Mengrai. So, Phra That Doi Tung considered as “the first pagoda of the Lanna Kingdom”.
Further from its beautiful appearance of the most sacred construction of the monastery stands elegantly over the top of Doi Tung range. The stunning scenery of the picturesque view and the sea of fog at the location if you visit the place after the shower rain would be another impressive experience for your trip to this remarkable temple, indeed. Wat Phra That Doi Tung is on the same way to go to Doi Tung Royal Villa that anyone who schedules to take a trip to Chiang Rai should not miss.
4Wat Phra Singha (Chiang Rai)
Another royal monastery in Chiang Rai that is the equally important holy attraction to Wat Phra Kaew. Wat Phra Singha in Chiang Rai was the residence to enshrine “Phra Phutta Sihing” or “Phra Singh” the most sacred object of Chiang Rai region for over 20 years before the Buddha image relocated to a house in Chiang Mai and Bangkok respectively.
Inside the monastery compound is the ubosot or ordination hall which is the Lanna architecture in Chiangsaen Style and the Grand Pagoda that presumed that both were constructed in the same period in 1889, nonetheless the two vital structures, presently remain in the excellent condition.
Apart from that, the main arched entrance of the hall that claimed to be the most outstanding piece of art at this temple is the sophisticated and exquisite engraved old wooden panels created by the celebrated artist “Thawan Duchanee,” another Chiang Rai native national artist that already passed away.
The magnificent artistic work is considered as one of the masterpieces of this globally famous artist that attract lots of tourists both local and international to see. Wat Phra Singha located on Tha Luang Road in the city town of Chiang Rai that is not too difficult for the tourist to reach.
3Wat Phra Kaew (Chiang Rai)
Wat Phra Kaew (Chiang Rai) another most essential Buddhist temple as the royal monastery in this province and in Thailand. Since the monastery was the place to discover “the Emerald Buddha” or well-known in local “Phra Kaew Morakot” the most palladium of the country that currently enshrined in the royal sanctuary of Wat Phra Si Rattanasassadaram or better known internationally “the Temple of the Emerald Buddha” in Bangkok.
The sacred Emerald Buddha was discovered at Wat Phra Kaew’s property in 1354 housed in the old stupa, and then the most sacred image was respectful invited to enshrine in the Bangkok in the reign of King Rama I of the Rattanakosin Era until now. The most outstanding character of the temple is the beautiful architectural of the art of “Hong Luang Saeng Kaew”, a Lanna contemporary building that stored many precious collections of the archeological finds and “The Grand Pagoda“, the main structure of this compound that the latter already registered as the ‘National Historic Site’ by the Department of Fine Arts since 1935.
More than that, the classic Lanna style structure called “Hor Phra Yok” (the Jade Buddha Hall) where the place stored the significant Buddha statue “Phra Yok Chiang Rai” or officially called “Phra Phuttarattanakorn Nawuttiwassanusornmongkol” that the citizen of Chiang Rai collaborated to create the holy image to celebrate in the occasion of HRH Princess Sri Nagarindra, the Princess Mother’s 90th Birthday Anniversary. Also, the interior of the building is so magnificent with the delicate mural painting regarding the history of Phra Kaew Morakot, as well.
Apart from that, one of the most beautiful Buddha images in Thailand “Phra Chao Lan Thong” also enshrined within this monastery complex, too. Hence, it could say that, if you want to see the remarkable beauty of the classic Lanna architecture in Chiang Rai, Wat Phra Kaew (Chiang Rai) will not disappoint you, definitely. Wat Phra Kaew (Chiang Rai) situated on Trirat Road in Wiang sub-district of Mueang district.
2Wat Rong Sue Ten
If Wat Rong Khun is what comes as the top in mind for the itinerary in Chiang Rai, now the trending must-visit “Blue Temple” will be another place that equally exciting to check-in, as well. The Blue Temple or literally is Wat Rong Suea Ten is exquisite and elegant in art. The highlighted architecture of this monastery is “the Blue Vihara” that is so fabulous in the outstanding blue color together with the delicate mural painting in all walls and ceilings.
The temple is accepted in its distinctive beauty of the was designed and built by the local artist “Phutta Karbkaew” or better known in Lanna “Sala Nok” took time for 11 years to complete. The significant structure is a house to enshrine “Phra Phutta Rajamangalabodee Triloknat,” the beautiful pearly white Buddha image is in the family of “Chiangsaen Singha Noueng” (Chiangsaen Type One). At the entrance of the vihara are two figures of the blue Naga welcome all the visitors. As another grand and notable holy place with the exquisite masterpiece of art, thence Wat Rong Suea Ten is absolutely put in the list for you to sight in Chiang Rai, indeed.
Moreover, visiting the temple is so convenient as it is not far from the town of Chiang Rai along the road to Mae Yao sub-district about 300 meters, and the temple is on the left side of the way.
1Wat Rong Khun
Top of the list temples to visit in Chiang Rai, positively can not skip Wat Rong Khun. The famous temple is designed and created by the National Artist in Visual arts (painting), Chalermchai Kositpipat. So-called the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun is predominant with the white architecture and furnished with the silvery shiny mirrors.
The tympanum of the structure is ornamented with the luxurious Naga figure and inside is highlighted by the magnificent mural painting. Also, there’s a gallery to exhibit the works of the celebrated artist and his followers that are all exciting to see. Wat Rong Khun opens to the public every day from 8.00am through 5.00pm.
And last but not least, further from the time that the tourist would indulge in the exotic charm of the remarkable architecture and Buddhist art from touring at lots of temples in Chiang Rai. Also, it’s a perfect leisure time that you can detoxify your mind from any stress and fuss by setting up peace in your mind, as well. Thence, any traveler who plans to take a journey to visit Chiang Rai should not skip putting these attractions on your itinerary, additionally please get the proper and polite costume and appease your manner when you visit the temples. So that, the trip to the temples in Chiang Rai would be another pleasant chapter of your life, indeed.