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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Temples In Chiang Rai – Diving Into the Northern City Well Famed for its Temples
Joanna James Joanna James
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Temples In Chiang Rai – Diving Into the Northern City Well Famed for its Temples

Thailand is well known for its breathtaking temples. However, if you are looking for the most outlandish temples, the best place to be at is Chiang Rai.


Wat Rung Khun

Referred to as the White Temple among tourists, this is one of the most iconic and bizarre temples in Chiang Rai. Located just out of the city, the temple is completely white in every aspect and makes use of glass for the construction. The choice of colour is a sign of the Buddha's purity while the glass reflects the wisdom of the Buddha. Construction of the temple is still ongoing and it has an array of symbols and signs dedicated towards Buddhism. This is evident from every aspect; be it the architecture or the decorations on the mirror. The Wat Rung Khun Temple also has murals of modern figures such as Neo from The Matrix.


Wat Phra Kaew

Widely considered the most important of all temples in the country, it is home to the Phra Kaew Morakot, which is a much worshipped statue of Buddha that is sculpted from one piece of jade. The statue is said to be made in the fifteenth century and shows the Buddha in a meditating pose. Aside from the Buddha statue, the elaborate architecture and the murals drawn inside are guaranteed to leave you awestruck thanks to the incredible detail on every corner. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is inside the imposing Royal Palace, which warrants a visit itself.


Wat Phra That Chedi Luang

The former home to the Phra Kaew Morakot, this ancient fourteenth century temple is not as grand as many other temples, but still has an aura that manages to captivate visitors. It has a design that is reminiscent of the Lanna style and the compound is massive by itself. On the inside is an emerald replica of the original Phra Kaew Morakot which was gifted by the King in 1995. The temple is present in the Golden Triangle where one can find a good Lanna hotel such as the likes of Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.


Wat Phra Sing

One of the most revered temples in the district, the Wat Phra Sing is one of the best examples of Lanna temple architecture. The main features of the temple are the elegant Lai Kam assembly hall and the murals that depict life from centuries ago. The assembly hall was initially built in the mid thirteenth century and has intricate carvings on many areas of the wood. The interior of the assembly hall is where the Phra Singh Buddha image is kept. The interior also holds murals that show how locals lived hundreds of years ago as well as other folk tales. A larger assembly hall called Viharn Luang holds a fifteenth century Buddha statue made of copper and gold. This assembly hall was entirely built again, although in the same location. However, the interior of Viharn Luang does not feature intricate and minute details, unlike the Lai Kam assembly hall.