Nearly all the temples in the world are beguiling with devotion and eternal bliss. However, there is something very uniquely pleasant about the Buddhist temples of Thailand.
This has led me to explore some amazing ones, and I am sharing my experience of visiting these truly mesmerizing temples that you should not miss when in Chiang Rai.
1. Wat Huai Pla Kang
Established in 2001, it is one of the most famous and visited Buddhist Chiang Rai temples.
In a very short duration, the temple has garnered a lot of attention and love from both Thai locals and tourists.
The temple complex features a 9-floor pagoda with 12 surrounding structures & a giant Buddha.
This is the 49-meter high Phop Chok Dhamma Chedi. The design of this pagoda is influenced by Thailand, China, and Europe.
The place was initially a little house for Buddhists; later, the temple was built here by the National workplace of Buddhism.
Address: 1553 Moo 3 Tambon Mae Yao, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand
Phone: +66 53 150 274
2. Wat Klang Wiang
This is the most intricately designed and ornate temple in the Chiang Rai area.
It is located in the heart of the city, and hence the name Wat Klang Wiang translates to "The temple founded at the city center." The vihara of the temple is built in a traditional Northern Thai style.
The temple underwent a partial renovation and remodeling after many parts of it got destroyed in 1903.
The main attractions of the temple are an Ubosot, the vihara, a scripture library, the chedi, and the city pillar shrine.
Address: Wat Klang Wiang Chiang Rai, Uttarakit Road, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
Phone: +66 63 641 9782
3. Wat Rong Khun
Popularly known as the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun is a pure spectacle to behold.
The temple architecture was designed by the renowned Thai visual artist Chaloemchai Khositphiphat.
If you ask me to name one temple that you should definitely visit in Thailand- it is Wat Rong Khun!
The architectural details of this temple show an amalgamation of traditional and modern art pertaining to the Buddhist culture.
It features mirror decorations and ornate reliefs and has an intriguing collection of artworks and paintings.
Address: 60 Moo 1 Phahonyothin Rd, Pa O Don Chai, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
Phone: +66 53 673 967
4. Wat Jed Yod
It is a royal temple that dates back to the 15th century. The temple's architecture is influenced by Lanna, Rattanakosin, Lao, Chinese and Indian styles.
Jed Yod translates to seven peaks, referring to the seven chedis on top of the structure.
The temple looks like a replica of the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya in the Republic of India. The temple hosted the Eighth World Buddhist Council in the year 1477.
The exterior of the temple is decorated with seventy Thewada figures- a kind of celestial beings- in different postures.
Address: Village No. 2, 90 Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Phone: +66 97 918 7892
5. Wat Ming Muang
It was earlier an abandoned temple where the city pillar was found in the ruins of its vihara.
Then a temple was constructed there by Chao Anantaworaritthidej, the Nan ruler, around 1857 and was named 'Wat Ming Mueang'.
The ubsot was pulled in 1984, and a new temple was constructed in Lanna style.
The present structure includes fine carved relieves and sculptures by Chiang Saen artists.
You will also find mural paintings by contemporary local artists, and the 3-meter-high city pillar standing in the pavilion in front of the ubosot.
The top of the pillar is engraved with the image of 4-faced Brahma.
Address: 52 Suriyapong Rd, Nai Wiang, Mueang Nan District, Nan 55000, Thailand
6. Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong
It is one of the oldest temples in Thailand that has been around since 940 A.D.
Due to its location on the highest point in Chiang Rai, the temple offers a scintillating view of the entire city from up there.
It features sacred relics and Lord Buddha’s remnants.
The chedi or stupa, a hexagon shape, is made purely of gold. This is one of the key attractions of popular places among tourists.
The 14-meter stupa in the temple is known as the Golden Pagoda and is influenced by the Lanna and Burmese styles of architecture.
Address: ArjAmnuay Rd, Tambon Rop Wiang, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
All these temples have something unique to offer to visitors. However, there is one thing common in all seven of the above- beauty and fine architecture.
We still understand that it is almost impossible to cover all these, but you should definitely visit the first three.
In 2 days, you can explore the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), Black House (Baan Dam), and Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten). You can also visit the Night Bazaar, Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, and the Hill Tribe Museum.
You can visit the Night Bazaar for shopping and trying local food. You can also go to the Chiang Rai Night Safari or watch a traditional Thai dance performance at the Cultural Hall.
Some unusual things to do in Chiang Rai are visiting the Opium Museum, exploring the Doi Din Daeng Pottery Village, and taking a bamboo rafting trip down the Mae Kok River.
Yes, you can find Chiang Rai travel guides online or in local bookstores. Lonely Planet and Rough Guides are some popular travel guide publishers that have guides on Chiang Rai.
The top Chiang Rai things to do are visiting the White Temple, Black House, and Blue Temple, exploring the Night Bazaar, Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, and Hill Tribe Museum. You can also take a trip to the Golden Triangle and visit the Doi Tung Royal Villa.
A suggested Chiang Rai itinerary for 2-3 days could include Day 1: Visit the White Temple, Black House, and Blue Temple. Day 2: Explore the Night Bazaar, Hill Tribe Museum, and Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park. Day 3: Take a trip to the Golden Triangle and visit the Doi Tung Royal Villa.
Yes, Chiang Rai is worth visiting for its unique temples, cultural attractions, and natural beauty. It is also less crowded and touristy compared to other cities in Thailand.
The Golden Triangle is the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. It is a popular tourist destination and known for its scenic views, opium trade history, and hill tribe villages.