Most of the sights around Chiang Rai city are Buddhist temples, both ancient and modern. Here's an alphabetical list of all the ones covered by this guide.
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- Wat Jedyod
- outh of the Night Bazaar area is one of the newer temples in Chiang Rai town. Wat Jedyod, which means 'seven peaks,' was started in 1844. It's sort of a copy of the ancient temple of the same name in Chiang Mai, which itself is a copy of a temple in India.
- Wat Klang Wiang
- It's not in any current guidebooks to Chiang Rai, but the temple of Klang Wiang is, I think, worth a look. The temple, particularly the small ubosot (ordination hall), displays a heavy Hindu influence on the typical northern style.
- Wat Ming Muang
- This small temple is among one of the oldest in Chiang Rai, apparently dating to the city's founding. That said, there isn't much of interest here, although the decorations on the chapel are quite fanciful. A new, larger, prayer hall was under construction when I last visited in 2012, as well as another building, so the temple seems to be in the midst of a major upgrade.
- Wat Ngam Muang
- Between Doi Tong and Wat Phra Kaeo is the temple of Wat Ngam Muang. The temple's name means 'beautiful city' in Thai. It was founded in 1670 around a small chedi reportedly containing the ashes of King Mengrai, the founder of Chiang Rai and the Lanna kingdom. The pagoda is supposed to have been built by Mengrai's son.
- Wat Phra Kaew
- Chiang Rai's Temple of the Emerald Buddha lays claim to be the 'original' Wat Phra Kaeo, at least in Thailand.
- Wat Phra Singh
- Just outside of the town's market area is Wat Phra Singh. The temple was built in the fourteenth century, about 100 years after the city's founding. Its wiharn once held the Phra Singh Buddha image which now resides in a temple of the same name in Chiang Mai.
- Wat Phrathat Doi Tong
- Up on a hill at the northwest corner of town is the old temple of Wat Phrathat Doi Tong. The temple was supposedly started by the Prince of Chiang Rai in 940. Its golden chedi (pagoda) is visible from far away when approaching the city from the north.
- Wat Rong Khun
- Most of the temples that tourists visit around Chiang Mai, like most of the temples that attract visitors all around Thailand, have roots going back hundreds of years, sometime to the founding of Chiang Rai more than 700 years ago. But Wat Rong Khun, which is currently one of the most popular attractions in the city, is just over ten years old.