The Wat Klang Wiang is one of the most ornate temples in Chiang Rai. Every structure in the temple complex is richly decorated.
Although the temple is much older and probably dates back to at least the 15th century, most structures were built during the 20th century. In 1903 a violent storm severely damaged much of the temple, after which many of its structures were rebuilt.
The main structures are the ubosot, the viharn, a scripture library, the chedi and the city pillar shrine.
Elegant white chedi
On the temple’s courtyard is a very elegant white chedi set on a square platform. The chedi consists of three levels, each one narrower than the one below it, containing niches where Buddha images are enshrined. The top of the chedi consists of a golden spiral. White sculpted elephant statues placed on the platform surround the pagoda.
Very ornate viharn
Behind the chedi is a viharn. The extremely ornate structure is guarded by both Naga snakes and Singha, a kind of lions.
The viharn has a three tiered roof with Naga bargeboards and stylized finials on the roof ends. The panels of the facade are decorated with with gold colors in the typical Lanna style. The red columns of the facade are decorated with golden Lanna motifs. Large golden colored Thewada figures (celestial beings) decorate the walls.
Inside the viharn opposite the entrance is a large golden seated Buddha image with several smaller images around it. The red pillars supporting the structure are intricately decorated with gold motifs.
Hindu influenced ubosot
The small ubosot where monks get ordained is another very ornate structure. The facade of the bot to the back of the viharn is very heavily decorated in red and golf colors and contains depictions of several mythological creatures. Its bargeboards have Naga serpents at the end as well as Lanna flower motifs. The heavily decorated portico reminds more of a Hindu temple than a Northern Thai Lanna temple.
Another very elaborate structure appears to have four elephant figures coming out of the wall on either side of the stairs. On top of this structure is the Ho Trai or scripture library which is built in the typical traditional Lanna style.
Chiang Rai city pillar
As the Wat Klang Wiang temple is located at the exact center of Chiang Rai it contains the city pillar. The pillar is kept in a specially constructed shrine. The very ornate red and gold shrine contains several Naga snakes. Armed guardian figures on each side of the shrine protect the city pillar.
How to get to the Wat Klang Wiang
The temple is located on the intersection of Uttarakit road and Rattanakhet road in the center of Chiang Rai. It is found about 500 meters South East of the Wat Phra Kaew and 200 meters from the Wat Phra Singh. From within the town center you can get there by tuk-tuk or samlor (a three wheeled rickshaw) or drive there yourself on a rented bicycle.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The temple grounds are open daily from 6 am until 5 pm. Admission is free.