So I have to admit, I don’t know how I have reached the age of 37 without coming to Thailand. I think it’s because it was the ‘done thing’ when we graduated, so I decided to go to Russia and China instead. Having arrived in Thailand just 3 days ago, I honestly feel that it is my spiritual home! I found such an amazing temple on my first day – the Blue Temple Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Suea Ten).
Wat Rong Suea Ten – Blue Temple Chiang Rai
Most people say that the White Temple is the best Chiang Rai temple, closely followed by the Black House. I feel that the Blue Temple is not yet as highly rated mainly because it is so new and therefore relatively undiscovered. Building commenced in 2005 and finished in 2016. The beauty of its vibrant blue colour therefore comes with the added bonus of it not being overcrowded, making a visit the the Blue Temple a more spiritual experience.
Many tour operators have now started to combine the Blue Temple – Wat Rong Suea Ten – with a tour of the White Temple and the Black House. Here are 10 pictures that will make you want to visit the Blue Temple Chiang Rai.
#1 The Entrance to the Blue Temple Chiang Rai
I’ve seen many amazing sites in my life, but nothing has ever made me literally gasp out loud on approaching the entrance as the the cobalt blue and gold facade of Wat Rong Suea Ten did!
#2 The Nagas
The snake like creatures, or Nagas are semi-divine beings which are potentially dangerous but beneficial to humans. They are positioned either side of the entrance staircase to protect the temple.
#3 The Nagas Tails!
Just as the heads of the nagas are detailed, their tails do not lack in exquisite detail either!
#4 The Side Windows
The side windows of the Blue Temple are elaborately decorated with Yakshi (female nature spirits) and nagas, with a meditating Buddha image above the window.
#5 An Angellic Temple Guardian
This winged angelic being guards the side of the temple, and his staff is tipped with a Dharma wheel representing the teaching of the Buddha.
#6 The Green Yaksha
The vivid blue and green Yakshas (mythical benevolent beings that take care of treasures) also guard the temple from evil spirits.
#7 Buddhist Art
The walls of the interior of the temple are elaborately painted with patterns and stories of the life of the Buddha. They also have Buddhist art mounted in elaborate golden frames. On the way out of the temple, look up at the top of the door to see a Buddhist depiction of hell.
The interior of the Blue temple is decorated with Buddhist art depicting scenes from the life of Siddhartha Gotama Buddha.
#8 The Shrine of the White Buddha
It’s the most amazing feeling when you stand before the Buddha in the shrine of the Blue Temple. The Buddha looks blue, but is actually white porcelain reflecting the blue walls and enhanced by lighting. Remember to take off your shoes before entering and no selfies with Buddha (turning your back to Buddha is offensive).
#9 The Ceiling
Don’t forget to look up! The kaleidoscopic and vibrant patterns of the ceiling and walls of the Blue Temple certainly focus your attention, combining tradition religious values with modern art.
#10 The Standing Buddha at the rear of the temple
The standing Buddha at the rear of Wat Rong Suea Ten embodies qualities of calmness, stillness and wisdom. His hands are displaying an abaya-mudra, dispelling fear.
The Blue temple is, the most vibrant and colourful Chiang Rai temple. It was so beautiful that even if I had needed to fly home on Day 2, my trip to Thailand would have been worth it just for that!
What to wear when Visiting the Blue Temple in Thailand
What should you wear when visiting temples in Thailand? Dress conservatively when visiting temples in Thailand. Wear trousers or a long skirt and cover shoulders.
A scarf is a good thing to have handy in Thailand as you can use it to cover yourself if you are wearing a vest top or maxi dress. Men should avoid shorts and wear t-shirts or a smart-casual shirt.
You will need to remove your shoes before going up the temple steps so wear some comfortable sandals or shoes that you can slip on and off. Birkenstocks are a good option.
Visiting the Blue Temple
The Blue Temple can be reached by Tuk-tuk and you should be paying around 50 baht (certainly no more than 100). You can pay a little more and arrange for the driver to wait half an hour or so for you and then take you back.
The temple is free to enter. Remember to respect Buddhist customs when you go inside. Photography is allowed inside the temple. Remove your shoes at the bottom of the steps before you walk up to the temple. Don’t point your feet at Buddha or turn your back on him as it is disrespectful. No loud talking or inappropriate conversation inside.
Blue Temple Tour – Incredible Temples of Chiang Mai
If you have limited time in Thailand, I recommend this private tour of the incredible temples of Chiang Mai on Viator. You will see the Blue Temple, White temple, Black house and Wat Huai Pla Kang – all outlined below.
Other Amazing Temples of Chiang Rai
In Chiang Rai, don’t miss the beautiful White Temple – built by the famous Thai artist, Kositpipat who had renovated an old temple into one of the most outstanding temples in Thailand. It’s famous for it’s bright white colour and mythical creatures and superheroes that tell the teachings of the Buddha.
The Black House Chiang Rai (Bandaam Museum) is more of a Museum complex than a single temple. It contains around 40 buildings by that combine architectural mastery with elaborate wood carvings. Inside the Black House buildings you will see a vast array of works of art, carvings and animal skins, many of which are expressions of Thai culture and religion.
The third unmissable temple of Chiang Mai is Wat Huai Pla Kang or Big Buddha Chiang Rai. The ‘Big Buddha is actually a representation of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and a Boddhisattva is Thai Buddhism (someone who reached enlightenment but continued to help others on earth). As well as the giant Guan Yin statue (23 stories high) you can explore the 9 story pagoda.
Where to Stay in Chiang Rai
Want something a little cheaper or dorm style accommodation? I recommend Connect Hostel Chiang Rai.
Don’t Forget your Travel Insurance!
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always use ad recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here: