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.

King Mengrai memorial
The memorial to King Mengrai with his tomb in back

During the years of Burmese rule in the north, the temple was abandoned and at some point the chedi was plundered. It wasn't until 1952 that the temple was rebuilt. In 1964 a statue of Mengrai was built in front of his pagoda, and it remains a place where people come to pray to this day.

King Mengrai memorial
The stairs up to the temple, with its Naga guardians.

At the top of a long naga staircase you find yourself in front of the main chapel (wiharn). The front of the chapel is elaborately decorated in red and gold. The stairs up to the wiharn are also lined with a Naga on either side, with their tails curving around to top the balustrade of the portico.