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Indochina Travel » Thailand travel guide » Top “ancient” destinations in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Top “ancient” destinations in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Thailand has a new tourist paradise that is Chiang Rai. Although not prominent in the scenery, Chiang Rai attracts visitors by Lanna culture. If you want to have a fun, memorable trip, do not miss the beautiful scenery, famous in Chiang Rai below.

1, The Great King Mengrai Memorial

The Great King Mengrai Memorial
The Great King Mengrai Memorial

This is Chiang Rai’s spiritual heart which lies in the monument of the great King Mengrai who gave birth to the Lanna Kingdom. He set up his first capital in Chiang Saen before moving his capital to the western bank of the Ping River in Chiang Mai. The large-sized statue of King Mengrai is guarded by three giant gold Lanna flags in the back. It will also be the first thing you see when approaching the city from Highway 1, Phaholyothin Road. Local people often stop here to pay homage to the city’s biological father before continuing his journey. This is a great place to relax or buy some souvenirs from the nearby handicraft center.

2, Mae Fah Luang Art and Culture Park

Mae Fah Luang Art and Culture Park
Mae Fah Luang Art and Culture Park

If you do not have much time but would like to get a glimpse of history as well as the present and learn about the cultural heritage in Chiang Rai, do not hesitate to visit the Mae Fah Luang Art and Culture Park. As one of the tourist attractions in Chiang Rai, this park is located about 5 km west of the city center. It was built in the traditional style of ancient Lanna and Tay tribes in the mountains. You can learn a lot about the 400-year history of the kingdom as you glance through the specimens displayed here, including a collection of ancient artifacts and religions.

3, Oub Kham Museum

Oub Kham Museum
Oub Kham Museum

Oub Kham Museum is just one of the fantastic sites in Chiang Rai. Next, to the cultural park, the Oub Kham Museum is one of the most admired Lanna art galleries. If you intend to go deep into Lanna’s history, art, and cultural heritage, the Oub Kham Museum is a must-see destination in Chiang Rai. You can enjoy the beautiful Lana Kingdom, which is embroidered from the royal prince’s outfits to rare artifacts, ancient Buddhist paintings, tribal artifacts, and tribal costumes.

4, Naval City Pillar

Naval City Pillar
Naval City Pillar

It might look old but these columns are considered as the protective soul of the city. Blending the ancient Khmer and Lanna concepts of space and human position in the universe, the Naval City Pillar is a series of pillar sculptures about 1 meter high, located at the top of Jom Thong Hill. The main pillar is placed on a marble pedestal and is slightly larger than the other pillars. Surrounded by 108 pillars, it forms six circles with the same center. This represents 6 lower floors of paradise, creating a supernatural atmosphere for this special place in Chiang Rai. On top of that, you can look down at the center of Chiang Rai, the Kok River, or you can also visit Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong located in the vicinity.

5, Wat Klang Wiang

Wat Klang Wiang
Wat Klang Wiang

This is a temple not to be missed in Chiang Rai thanks to its stunning architecture as well as its striking and floral decor. Located in the heart of Chiang Rai, Wat Klang Wieng preserves the original temple-shaped temple of the city, as well as a complex of temples built in contemporary Lanna style. Built in 1432, this temple had a red dome – a special color for temples. In addition, the temple area also has a white dome building guarded by the elephant statues. At each floor, there are small niches for placing Buddha images or golden amulets – a characteristic of the traditional northern style.

6, Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew Chiang Rai is the place where the Jade Buddha was found. It was known as Wat Pay Ya until a stormy night in 1434. At that time, lightning struck the main temple, broke everything and revealed the Emerald Buddha inside. The Buddha was moved to Lampang, Chiang Mai, Luang Phra Bang, Vientiane and finally, it stopped at Wat Phra Kaew Bangkok. Today, although no longer the home of the famous statue, Wat Phra Kaew Chiang Rai is worshiping the almost complete copy of the Jade Buddha because is the reminiscent of the statue of the ancient statue, only slightly lower. This statue-wearing statue of power is stored in the dark red Lanna-style temple.

7, Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh
Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh gives you a wonderful world of Lanna art and history go back to the 14th century. The main worship place used to store Phra Singh Buddha image until he was relocated to Chiang Mai and was replaced by another copy. At this temple, if you look closely you will see many details carved by hand with the decoration and sculpture of the mystical animals.

8, Wat Rong Khun (White Pagoda)

Wat Rong Khun (White Pagoda)
Wat Rong Khun (White Pagoda)

Another place to visit in Chiang Rai you should not miss that is the White Pagoda. When coming here, you can admire the highlight areas such as Reishi – Rebirth Bridge or Gate of Heaven. In addition, the main area of Wat Rong Khun power will make you miss the eye with unique paintings, even bizarre. It is the special white color that symbolizes the purity and illumination of Buddhism that makes up a unique Wat Rong Khun. And along the lines of fine and unique sculpture, Wat Rong Khun is the religious symbol and premier tourist attraction in both Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.

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