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).
Introducing the Blue Temple Chiang Rai – Wat Rong Suea Ten
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 (Wat Rong Suea Ten) 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 to the Blue Temple a more spiritual experience.
The Chiang Rai 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!
How to get to the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai
Many tour operators have now started to combine the Chiang Rai Blue Temple – Wat Rong Suea Ten – with a tour of the White Temple and the Black House. However, it is possible to do on your own by getting a tuk-tuk. I highly recommend this, since you will be on your own time schedule and you can spend as much time as you like here.
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.
Now let me tell you…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 cobalt blue and gold facade of Wat Rong Suea Ten did!
Is there an entrance fee for the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai?
There is no entrance fee to the Blue temple – it is free for everyone as long as you respect the Buddha. I’m not sure whether or not this will change in the future. You are encouraged to make a donation when you visit which will be used towards the upkeep of the temple and the local Buddhist community.
Tips for Visiting the Blue Temple
- Remember to respect Buddhist customs when you go inside.
- Dress conservatively (not lots of flesh or bear arms on display).
- 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.
- The temple is very delicate – avoid running and avoid wearing a large backpack so that you don’t accidentally damage the statues and carvings.
What to see at the Blue Temple
Admire 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.
Just as the heads of the nagas are detailed, their tails do not lack in exquisite detail either!
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.
Angellic Temple Guardians
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.
The Green Yakshas
The vivid blue and green Yakshas (mythical benevolent beings that take care of treasures) also guard the temple from evil spirits.
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.
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).
The Ceiling – don’t forget to look up!
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.
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.
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.
Where to Stay in Chiang Rai
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in the centre of Chiang Mai go for Mora Boutique hotel or Le Patta Chiang Rai hotel. Both of these are centrally located with WIFI and breakfast included.
Want something a little cheaper or dorm style accommodation? I recommend Connect Hostel Chiang Rai.