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A guide to Blue Temple in Chiang Rai – Wat Rong Suea Ten

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Chiang Rai

Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 24/05/2024, 00:45

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

Chiang Rai hides some amazing works of Thai architecture. One of them, is a relatively recently built temple – Wat Rong Suea Ten, also called the Blue Temple. Visit this fantastic place, learn more and plan your stay in Chiang Rai.

The Blue Temple in Chiang Rai has only recently been featured on Instagram accounts, and in guidebooks to the city and surrounding areas. I myself learned about it while finding interesting places. I went there on the occasion of my stay in Chiang Rai, when I also visited the Black House and the White Temple. I’ve been coming to Thailand for a long time now and try to avoid attractions that are filled with tourists, but I was nearby, so decided to check out the Blue Temple. It turned out to be a nice place, very artistic with some quirky features.

I recommend visiting Wat Rong Suea Ten if you’re looking to add another attraction to your list of places to see in Chiang Rai. Go there with an open mind and see if you prefer it from the White Temple of the Black House.

In this post, I’ll introduce you to the place a bit more and give you practical tips on how to visit it.

Temple, Chiang Rai with visitors
This temple is quite popular among visitors.

Pro Tip: Visit Chiang Rai for a few days. Spend one day exploring the temples and the city and the second day going to the mountains and the countryside.

Visiting the temple

Wat Rong Suea Ten is relatively small compared to the White Temple, for example. The whole building is, of course, distinguished by its beautiful shade of blue with gold trim.

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    In the middle of the large plaza in front of the Blue Temple stands a fountain, the centerpiece of which is a white sculpture of Buddha sitting under a lotus flower.

    Buddha, lotus, blue temple
    The entrance to the temple.

    Further inside, there are stairs and large blue Nagas guarding the place – creatures resembling dragons or snakes, which in local tradition get rid of bad energy.

    dragon sculpture
    Nagas are mythical dragons guarding the temples.

    The center of the temple is somewhat reminiscent of a painting of the cosmic sky – here we have blue walls, and a shimmering blue Buddha, above which a painting resembles the opening sky or cosmos.

    Blue Buddha, blue temple.
    The Blue Temple is a very interesting place, with a beautiful interior.

    On either side, large windows lead to the surrounding grounds, and beneath them sit angelic figures with wings who also guard the temple from evil.

    A blue statue of an angel
    Spend at least one day in Chiang Rai to experience all the amazing places.

    At the back of the temple you will find a small staircase, crowned by a standing Buddha.

    The Blue Temple in Chiang Rai is not only a tourist attraction, but also a place of meditation and prayer for the local community. Many people burn incense and candles in front of the entrance. Be sure to respect their practice and don’t interfere too much with their rituals.

    Admission to the temple is free. The complex is open from 7 in the morning to 8 in the evening.

    The story of Wat Rong Suea Ten

    Blue temple, wall and walkway
    The temple is an interesting place when it comes to the architecture.

    At one time, another temple stood on the site of the Blue Temple, which was slowly falling apart and was no longer suitable for visitors. In 1996 work began on rebuilding it, which didn’t really begin until 2006.

    The mastermind behind this project was Sala Nok, a disciple of Chalermchai Kositpipat – the artist who created Wat Rong Kun – the White Temple, which is also located in Chiang Rai.

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    How to get to the Blue Temple?

    The Blue Temple in Chiang Rai is located on the outskirts of the city. Getting there takes some planning, but don’t worry, it’s not that difficult.

    Chiang Rai is located about 3 hours by bus from Chiang Mai or 2 hours by mini van or car.

    Here are ways to get to the attraction:

    1. Chiang Rai tour – You can buy a guided tour in Chiang Mai. Such a tour lasts a full day and includes other attractions, such as the White Temple or the Black House, and sometimes the Long Neck Village. I recommend buying a private tour from TakeMeTour.
    2. There are also buses from Chiang Mai. The trip takes 3 hours, and the buses are also late, so expect it to take you longer. If you leave Chiang Mai very early, you can manage to get back to Chiang Mai late in the evening. Book your ticket here.
    3. From Chiang Mai you also have flights. The flight takes 1 hour, but depending on the time of year, the weather and the availability of flights that day, you may have to combine to return to Chiang Mai on the same day. Check your flights.
    4. Go to Chiang Rai for a weekend or spend one night. Chiang Rai is a very pleasant city and a great place to spend an evening. Check out accommodation on Booking.com.

    I do not recommend going to Chiang Rai on a small scooter. The expressways are very dangerous and really not worth the risk. Only a bigger motorcycle and an experienced driver will manage here.

    I spent a weekend in Chiang Rai. On one day I visited the biggest attractions in the city, and on the second day I went to the mountains. I stayed at the Mira Hotel for the night. The hotel itself is in a very good location, the rooms are a great deal and clean. The only things that bothered me were the air conditioning, which was quite loud, and the hard pillows.

    Wat Rong Suea Ten was completed in 2016 and is an example of a neo-traditional style building. This means that symbolism is preserved here, but the colors and accessories create fantastic patterns.

    The Blue Temple, Wat Rong Suea Ten, in Chiang Rai is a treat for anyone who wants to see a totally different dimension of Thai architecture and Thai Buddhism. Combine the tour with visits to the White Temple and the Black House. It will be an unforgettable time in Chiang Rai.