Chiang Rai, a picturesque province in northern Thailand, is home to several stunning temples. These temples reflect the rich cultural and religious heritage of the region. Despite being a place of worship, they also serve as popular tourist attractions due to their unique architectural styles, intricate artwork, and serene surroundings. Here is an introduction to some of the top temples to visit in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
1. Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)
Arguably the most famous temple in Chiang Rai, Wat Rong Khun is a contemporary masterpiece designed by renowned Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. The temple is known for its striking, all-white exterior adorned with intricate mirror mosaics. The temple’s interior is equally impressive, with contemporary artwork that blends traditional Buddhist themes with modern pop culture. The entrance fee to the main temple is 100 baht, while you can wander around the rest of the compound for free.
2. Wat Rong Suea Ten (Blue Temple)
Wat Rong Suea Ten is located close to the city center of Chiang Rai, making it easily accessible to tourists. The temple’s striking blue exterior results in its nickname, the Blue Temple. The blue color symbolizes the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. The architecture of the temple combines traditional Thai elements with modern design, creating a captivating and contemporary appearance.
3. Wat Huay Pla Kang (Goddess of Mercy Chiang Rai)
The highlight of Wat Huay Pla Kang is the massive white Guanyin statue, standing at 20 meters tall. We have to climb a huge flight of steps, adorned with dragon along each side. Within the Goddess of Mercy, each person could pay an entrance fee of 40 baht to take a lift up to the 26th floor. Not only does it offer an amazing view, but the interior also showcase beautiful architecture.
Beside the Goddess of Mercy is the towering, 9-tiered pagoda that offers panoramic views of Chiang Rai. Incorporating both traditional Thai and Chinese elements, the temple’s design is a unique cultural fusion.
4. Wat Phra Sing
Located in the heart of Chiang Rai city, Wat Phra Singh is one of the oldest temples dating back to the 14th century. The main attraction is the stunning Lanna-style assembly hall, adorned with intricate wood carvings and a gilded facade. Visitors can also admire the beautiful Buddha images and murals inside the temple.
5. Wat Tham Phra (Buddha Cave Temple)
Wat Tham Phra is a temple off the beaten track where parts of it built within the interior of a natural cave. Walk along a steep slope and there lies a Buddha stone overlooking Kok Riverbanks! It is a serene environment where you could visit if you happened to have spare time in Chiang Rai. This temple might not be as popular as the others.
Remember to adhere to the temple’s dress code as visitors are expected to dress modestly and respectfully. Do check out my other travel articles!