Temples in Chiang Rai Downtown

Wat Phra Kaew is the original site of the Emerald Buddha (now in Bangkok). It was known by the name of Wat Pa Ya (Bamboo Forest Temple), until one stormy night in 1434, a bolt of lightning struck the principal golden stupa, cracking it and revealing the Emerald Buddha inside. The Buddha was then relocated to Lampang, Chiang Mai, Luang Phra Bang, Vientiane and eventually Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok. Today, a replica of the Emerald Buddha is housed inside the crimson, Lanna-style pavilion behind the chedi. The temple is located at the corner of Trairat and Saeng Kaew Roads.

Not far from the Chiang Rai Town Hall is Wat Phra Singha, a historic temple once home to the sacred Lanna-style Buddhist statue Phra Buddha Sihing, which is now in Chiang Mai. The chapel is adorned with intricate hand-carved details, gilded fretworks, mirror decorations and sculptures of mythical animals. Designed by renowned local artist Tawan Duchanee, its front door tells the story of the four elements – wind, fire, water, earth – through four mythical creatures: the Garuda, lion (singh), naga serpent and elephant. The temple is located on Singha Klai Road, near Overbrook Hospital.