The temples of Chiang Rai are famous for their beauty and their extraordinary style. Probably the most famous temple is the White Temple in Chiang Rai, a work of art that is unique in Thailand.
Chiang Rai, in addition to nature, mountains, and foggy landscapes, has beautiful cultural sides, you can find beautiful temples everywhere.
There are many other holy sites and temple complexes inside the old town and the surrounding area which are fascinating and worth a visit.
The White Temple of Chiang Rai is one of the most famous, but also one of the most extraordinary temples in Thailand. Completely white, it stands out from a typical Thai temple. But also the visit is a bit different than elsewhere. Through a one-way system, you walk from hell toward heaven and marvel at mystical figures. Inside there are many very bizarre murals, which probably you wouldn’t expect. The White Temple in Chiang Rai is a temple truly worth seeing, which should not be missed on any trip to northern Thailand.
The epic white temple is the most famous sight in the whole of Chiang Rai and a must-visit place when you are here. It’s one of the most fascinating Chiang rai temples, beautiful in every sense and the architecture is unique.
Buddhist temples are often known for their abundance of colors but Wat Rong Khun has broken this traditional concept with its sparkling white color and unique architecture. It looks so dramatic when you see it closely and its perfection from afar.
The temple is around 13 km from Chiang Rai city center so you will need some sort of transportation if you are coming from the city. If you are visiting here from Chiang Mai then it’s easy to visit here as it is on the way to the main city of Chiang Rai and can be seen from the main highway. As soon as you set your eyes on this place, you are bound to be in awe. The exteriors are covered in white plaster with glass inserts. The facade is an elaborate artistic sight. The only building in the complex that is not white and is golden in color is the washroom.
Though it is called the White Temple, it’s actually a privately-owned art exhibit in Buddhist style. It is owned by Chalermchai Kositpitat who designed and constructed it.
Wat Rong Khun This temple was designed and built by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous painter who built Wat Rong Khun to be the Buddhist art of the land offering as a Buddhist. The highlight of Wat Rong Khun is the white temple decorated with silver mirror patterns. Gable decorated with Naga various murals Which is the use of applied arts in the old era mixed with the charming new era, Wat Rong Khun is, therefore, one of the values of modern Thai art.
Another highlight is the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai. Decorated in blue and gold exterior, this sacred place is just unbelievably beautiful. Inside, too, the temple is completely in blue color and in the middle sits a huge white Buddha. You should definitely plan some time for a visit because there are some really lovely details to discover in the temple. The best time to go to the Blue Temple is in the early morning or preferably during the week because otherwise it can get packed here even at 09:00 in the morning it can be really busy, so go before if you can.
The blue temple is my favorite temple in Chiang Rai because of its color combination, architecture, and overall look. It is also known as Wat Rong Suea Ten but tourists including locals call it the blue temple. It was completed in 2016 and it still isn’t very popular among tourists, unlike the white temple.
If you are wondering how can a completely blue-colored temple be a beautiful sight to see? Well, the wonderful part of this temple is that the shade of blue is Sapphire blue which is neither dull nor very vibrant that may hurt your eyes. Along with all the blue majority of intricate details used are golden colors which make this temple stand out even more.
The incredible modern details are completely mind-blowing. It’s vibrant, contemporary, and unique in so many ways. There are a few sections in this temple and every section is detailed, decorated, and thorough.
The inside of the temple looks like royal art meets the temple interior. I can’t emphasize enough how much everyone needs to see this place with their own eyes. The entrance is free and it is located a few kilometers outside Chiang Rai.
From the front of the temple, there is a magnificent temple arch. Created as a serpent Thao Muchalin and Grandfather Srisuttho. One of the beautiful temples of Chiang Rai.
A very prominent point of Wat Rong Suea Ten is Viharn Rong Suea which was built with contemporary religious art It's a beautiful blue with gold trim. It is unique like no other temple. Inside the viharn enshrines a large white Buddha image named Phra Buddha Ratchamongkhon Bodi Trilokanat. It has a height of 20 meters and the top of the relics contains the Buddha's relics is, therefore, a place of worship for Buddhists
Wat Huay Pla Kung is a beautiful temple located on the top of a hill, 6km outside of Chiang Rai city. It. is often mistakenly referred to as the Big Buddha temple because of a large white statue which actually is the representation of Guan Yin – The Goddess of Mercy. Wat Huay Pla Kung is a temple complex consisting of 3 different temples built in their own space and each of them is different from the others. The first and the most prominent white statue that you will see as soon as you are in the parking lot is Guan Yin – The Goddess of Mercy which is referred to as Big Buddha.
This statue is 23 stories high and the staircase leading to the statue is surrounded by enormous dragon sculptures that look super cool. I would recommend visiting here at sunrise. When the sunlight falls on the dragon statues as the sun sets, it makes a beautiful scene along with a great moment to take pictures.
Wat Hua Pla Kang is one of the most impressive temples in Chiang Rai. The main attraction of this temple complex, built-in 2001, is a 100-meter-high white Buddha, which can be seen far from the distance. The whole complex is really impressive, but the highlight is the huge Buddha. A lift takes you up to the Buddha’s head, where you can enjoy the great view over the Chiang Rai landscape from the eyes of the statue.
The 9-tier Temple
While everyone seems to focus on the dragons and the big statue of Guan Yin, this 9-tier pagoda is quite different and interesting in my opinion. The architecture of this temple is a traditional mix of the Lanna-Chinese style and it’s like no other. Generally, the chedis are golden in color but this one is so unique and 9-storied.
The whole aura of the place is calm and serene. This place is more sacred to people who come to worship so you will see a lot of monks around the temple. Make sure to be respectful and quiet at all times during your visit.
Each tier has its own balcony from where you can look out to the temple’s surroundings. Additionally, every single one of the 9 tiers features an incredible wooden Buddha statue. The ground floor of the temple is the most spacious, with enough room to sit and relax.
What stands out about this temple is "Pob Chok Dhamma Chedi".
The unusual shape is a pointed shape that combines Chinese and Lanna arts. The red roof has dragon statues stretching on either side of the stairs. Inside the chedi enshrines various Buddha images and arhats. and is enshrined Guan Yin is carved from large sandalwood.
The largest Guan Yin statue in Thailand is approximately 79 meters tall, equivalent to a 25-26-storey building located on a hill looking majestic. It is believed that if anyone comes to ask for blessings in matters of health, finances, and work, that blessing will be returned.
On the way up to worship the Goddess of Mercy, you will find beautiful architecture, especially the white dragon statues on the elegant staircase. The atmosphere is like being in China. Inside the Goddess of Mercy, you can go up to see the view of Wat Huai Pla Kang from a high angle as well. If going upstairs, use the elevator to go to the 25th floor (elevator fee 20 baht per person). You can walk to see the beauty of the temple. and walk to the viewpoint will be in the eyes of the goddess Guan Yin overlooking the scenery of Chiang Rai and also seen at the dragon gate at the entrance to the temple In front of the large Guan Yin statue is another highlight in the evening watching the sunset
Where to Stay:
Pak Ping In Jai is within walking distance of the white temple, for the other temples you need a car or motorbike. Rooms are around 18 Eur a night, Book Now
Central located, friendly staff and around you can find many good restaurants.
Rooms are around 20 Eur a night, Book Now
Here are some resources to help you get your trip going:
Travel Essentials what's in my bag: To help you get started on packing, here are my essential travel and photography gear
Flights: WayAway to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.
Accommodation: Hostelworld, Booking.com, and Agoda.com are the ultimate go-to platforms to search for amazing hostels and hotels at affordable prices.
Car Rental: DiscoverCars.com is a great and reliable platform to find rental cars all over the world.
Internet: Airalo is the best way to get a sim card and has reliable internet access for your trip. All you need is an Esim-compatible smartphone, install it on your phone prior to your trip, and you are all set.
Day Trips & Tours: Viator, and GetYourGuide, are great platforms to search for activities to do
Tickets & Deals: Tiqets is always my go-to website when I want to find cheaper deals for entrance tickets to tourist attractions
Klook to find the best deals for trips in Asia, somehow they are 30% cheaper than when you buy them at a local agency
Train, buses, and ferries 12Go to find your travel route for local buses, and ferries, we use them all the time as you can easily see the reviews, and the vouchers are everywhere accepted. tickets are sold for more than 5,000 destinations in 100+ countries worldwide.