Wat Phra Kaeo - this beautiful Buddhist temple on Trairat Road right in town is famous
for having housed, in the 14th century, the Emerald Buddha, one of the most famous
Buddha images in Thailand. According to legend, the statue was (re)discovered when
a bolt of lightning hit a chedi (stupa) on the grounds, cracking it open and revealing
the Buddha inside. The temple grounds are lush with greenery and house a compact
but excellent two-story air conditioned museum, with a near-exact replica (1 mm shorter!)
of the Emerald Buddha. The original is now housed in Bangkok in the temple of the
same name, in the grounds of the Royal Palace.
Wat Phra Sing is located near the town hall used to house a major Buddha statue,
the Phra Buddha Sihing, which is now enshrined in Chiang Mai. Like Wat Phra Kaeo,
the temple now houses a replica instead. A special feature is the Lanna-style Ubosot
and the wooden door panels carved by Chiang Rai contemporary craftsmen. Tel: 0 5374
Wat Klong Wiang. Dating back to 1432, this is an excellent but little-visited temple
showcasing exuberant Lanna style at its best. Check out the colourful guardian statues,
the elephants in the back and the "No Killing Area" admonition at the entrance.
Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong located on Doi Chom Thong on the banks of the Kok River
within town area, contains what is believed to be the oldest Holy Relic even before
King Mengrai built Chiang Rai. The Chedi containing the Holy Relic was probably renovated
at the same time the town was being built. A major religious site in Chiang Rai was
from here that King Mengrai spotted the strategic location on which to establish
the town. Tel: 0 5371 6055
Munniti Chiang Rai Across from Sammakkhi Wittayakhom School on Banpaprakan is this
Taoist and Mahayana Buddhist temple, a rare sight in Buddhist Thailand. There is
a Shan house nearby. And on the road to Pattaya Noi is a temple dedicated to the
Chinese Goddess of Mercy featuring a large statue. In the Ban Kheck area is another
Goddess of Mercy temple.
Temples in and around Chiang Rai
White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), located at Ban Rong Khun, Tambon Pa O Don Chai, along
Phahonyothin roadside at Km. 816, about 13 km from the city. This unique modern temple
was designed and built by artist Chaloemchai Khositphiphat starting in 1998. A beautiful
white ordination hall – Phra Ubosot - is decorated with silver glittering pieces
of mirrors. There are large mural paintings of the Lord Buddha in different gestures.
A gable is decorated with a gable apex, a leaf-shaped gable-edging – in the shapes
of Phya Naga, dragon and mythical creatures, which are entirely made of white stucco.
There are viharn, small hall for recitation surrounding the ordination hall, museum
and reception pavilion. The gallery exhibits paintings of Chaloemchai Khositphiphat.
Posters, drawing albums and T-shirts can be purchased. The earnings will contribute
to the fund for building the temple. It opens daily at 8.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. Call
Tel: 0 5367 3579 Fax: 0 5367 3539.