Chiang Rai City

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Chiang Rai

Several hundred years ago, King Meng Rai chose this fertile land at the foot of Doi Chom Thong by the Kok River to be the site of his new empire. Numerous historic remains in the areas are witness to Chiang Rai’s past glories, reflecting its high standard of social and cultural development. 

King Meng Rai The Great Monument

This is located on the city outskirts, beside the northern road to Mae Chan, and honours the monarch, Phraya Meng Rai, who founded Chiang Rai in 1262. It is quite appropriate to pay homage to its founder before venturing to other sites in his historic empire of Chiang Rai. 

Wat Klang Wiang

Formerly called Wat Chantalok after the huge red chan tree once grown here, this is where the founding city pillar is located. However, during the modern day mapping process, it was revealed that this temple is situated at the exact center-point of the city. The city pillar was thus erected, and the temple was renamed Wat Chan Lok Klang Wang. In 1903, a big gale destroyed the “chan” tree, ubosot, main prayer hall, and wihan, an assembly hall. The name of the temple was thus reduced to Wat Klang Wiang.
In 1992, a new city pole was erected to replace the old one which had long collapsed. A mondop topped with a spire was built to protect the pillar from eroding elements, with a statue of the mythical Guardian Angle (called Thao Chatu Lokaban) to protect the city’s birthplace according to Lanna beliefs. A chedi was built where the chan tree once stood. The statuettes of fully attired elephants stand around the base of the chedi. The main prayer hall was also rebuilt in neo-Lanna architectural style.

Wat Phra Sing

Wat Phra Sing Located on Singhakhlai Road, the temple was built around 1385. The Phra Buddha Sihing image now housed in Chiang Mai’s Wat Phra Sing was formerly enshrined here.

The temple is also well-known for its artifacts. The main prayer hall reflects a traditional architectural style, with wooden portals beautifully carved into a delicate pattern showing the interplay of earth, water, wind and fire, by the hand of local Chiang Rai craftsmen. The pattern was designed by one of Thailand’s renowned artists, Thawan Datchani. The temple itself houses a 5 by 24 replica of Buddha’s footprint believed to be carved in the reign of Phraya Meng Rai, with an inscription in the ancient Khmer alphabet which reads “Kusala Thamma (Dhamma), Akusala Thamma (Dhamma),” to remind people of the Dhamma which instigates good deeds and refrains from undesirable deeds.

Wat Phra Kaeo

Wat Phra Kaeo Located behind Wat Phra Singh, this temple is said to have been the original place where the Emerald Buddha, now enshrined in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaeo was enshrined.

On 21 October 1990. Buddhist clerics and laity agreed to build the Jade Buddha (commonly called Phra Yok Chiang Rai) to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Princess Mother’s birthday. The Buddha image was officially name Phra Phuttha Rattanakonnawuttiwatsanuson Mongkhon. which means the Buddha who is the source of gems.

In the main prayer hall tands a huge bronze Buddha image in the posture of sub-duing mara, or demon. This is commonly known as Phra-Chao Lan Thong in Chiang Rai. It was transferred from Wet Phra Chao Lan Thong to this temple in 1961. The main hall itself was built in 1960 in the neo-Lanna style with double-tiered roofs decorated with colored glass along the eaves and the beams. The front portal posts and gable are decorated with intricate golden patterns. The doors are showpieces of northern woodcarving techniques.

Ku Phraya Meng Rai & Wat Dai Ngam Muang

Ku Phraya Meng RaiKu Phraya Meng Rai was initially built to contain Meng Rai’s bone relics after his cremation. The temple was built later where the Ku was found and was renovated once again in 1952 and Phraya Meng Rai’s statue was erected next to his remains then. 



Wat Phra That Doi Thong

Wat Phra That Doi ThongBefore the founding of Chiang Rai, King Meng Rai had a high citadel built around Doi Chom Thong, the city center. Then he had Phra That Doi Thong renovated. Phra That Doi Thong, originally built by Phraya Ruen Kaeo in 900, contains a portion of Buddha’s relics. One portion is kept at Wat Phra That Doi Tung and the other at Wat Phra That Chom Kitti.

Opposite Wat Phra That Doi Thong are located 108 city pillars of Chiang Rai, which the citizen unanimously agreed to build in 1988 as an expression of gratitude to King Meng Rai, as well as to celebrate King Bhumibol’s 60th birthday.

Wat Phra That Doi Thong

The pillars were built according to lanna traditional beliefs reflecting a combination of Buddhist and Hindu ideology. The pillars themselves are 5 feet thick and are of the king’s height. They are arranged in several tiers of circles, symbolizing the universe with Sumeru Mountain in the center. The Surrounding five water troughs represent the five oceans (the traditional Pancha Mahanathi). with Nirvana at its highest reach.

Hilltribe Museum

The Population and Community Development (PDA), a non profit making organization, founded this museum and study center with the objective to preserve and display the ways of life of the six tribes Akha (l-ko), Lahu (Musor), Mien (Yao), Karen, Lisu (Lisor) and Hmong (Maeo). A slide presentation of their settlement history in Thailand is available in 5 languages: Thai, English, Japanese, German and French. It also serves as a visitor center where tourists can obtain information about other tourist attractions in Chiang Rai.

Downstairs to the museum is located “C&C Restaurant” (Cabbages and Condoms) where contraceptive condoms are distributed free of charge as part of the program to help promote birth control and HIV prevention. The menu includes European, American and local Thai dishes at reasonable prices. Profits from the restaurant go to support the association.

The museum is open daily from 8.30 am to 8.00 pm. Admission 20 baht. The restaurant opens 10.00 am – 01.00 pm. 

Up-Kham Museum

Up-Kham MuseumThis private museum belongs to Mr. Chunlasak Suriyachai, an avid art collector whose outstanding archeological collections are unique. Some curios on display here include numerous ornaments, lacquerware, ancient fabrics, traditional costumes from some Lanna courts, as well as other hard-to-find items such as the throne of Chao Fa Muang Tai, and golden silk costumes of Tai Yai princes.

The museum is open daily from 10.00 am to 06.00 pm. Admission 100 baht.





Khun Kon Waterfall Forest Park

Khun Kon Waterfall Forest ParkCommonly called Tat Mok Waterfall, this fall is 70 meters high, and is considered the highest and the most beautiful in Chiang Rai.