Temples of Thailand: Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Rai

On my first day in Chiang Rai, Thailand, I decided to go and see some temples, and the first I came to was Wat Phra Singh.

Ubosot at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The ubosot (main shrine) at Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh dates back to the 14th century when it was built by King Pra Chao Maha Proma. It once housed the famous Phra Singh Buddha image that is now in the temple of the same name in Chiang Mai.

A lot of people will tell you that when you travel to Thailand all of the temples will begin to look the same after a while. I think the key is to slow down and notice the difference between the temples, learn it’s story and appreciate the small details rather than the grand picture.

The first thing I noticed when I entered Wat Phra Singh was that there were no other tourists here. The second thing I noticed was some beautiful Buddha images surrounding an old tree.

Buddha images around an old tree at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Buddha images surrounding an old tree

From here I made my way to the ubosot (main shrine) where the Phra Singh Buddha image once stood. Built in the typical Lanna style, the ubosot is beautifully decorated with lovely details and artwork. At the head of the shrine is a replica of the famous Phra Singh Buddha.

Decoration on the stairs at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Stair case decoration

The main shrine at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Looking towards the Phra Singh Buddha image from the entrance

Phra Singh Buddha image at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The Phra Singh Buddha replica

The replica is much smaller than the original but just as beautiful. I absolutely love the colours that are found in Thai temples, and the artwork on Wat Phra Singh’s walls is fascinating.

Artwork at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Artwork on the wall of the shrine

Behind the ubosot is a typical golden chedi, but next to that is what I thought was a dead tree. When I looked closer I noticed that it wasn’t dead and that it in fact had these interesting flowers on it. I later found out that this is called a Cannonball Tree and they are quite common in Chiang Rai.

Chedi at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The golden chedi

Flower of the Cannonball tree at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Rai, Thailand

A flower on the Cannonball Tree (Can you see the cannonballs?)

Although Wat Phra Singh is rather plain compared to other temples in Thailand, it has it’s own story and unique details that make it well worth visiting.

Have you been to Chiang Rai? What was your favourite temple?



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10 comments… add one
  • Bama Mar 30, 2012

    Did you also visit the White Temple when you were in Chiang Rai? By the way I agree with you about looking at the details of every temple rather than only see the grand picture. Every temple is unique and all of them are interesting.
    Bama recently posted..Candi Sukuh: The Naked TempleMy Profile

  • Wanderplex Apr 7, 2012

    I love what you said about how a lot of temples can start to feel “the same” – I’ve definitely experienced this temple fatigue. Great tip about learning to notice the differences and find out the stories that make each sight unique – this post will definitely help readers on their way to doing just that!
    Wanderplex recently posted..What’s new ’round the web: week of 04/06/12My Profile

  • cheryl May 12, 2012

    As I haven’t been to Thailand yet, I do not feel this fatigue but sometimes feel it with European cathedrals. It takes a lot to amaze me these days.
    cheryl recently posted..Travel Bloggers Go Wild … Riding Donkeys in Umbria, Italy.My Profile

    • Dean Wickham May 13, 2012

      Hi Cheryl, it is definitely a similar feeling. I found the same when I was travelling through Italy. The churches were just incredible at first but they soon started to all look the same. It’s important to slow down and look at the little details and the history of the place. Learn it’s story and you might find it a bit more interesting.
      Dean Wickham recently posted..Temples of Thailand: Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang SaenMy Profile

  • Steve Jun 26, 2012

    We’re heading to Thailand in November! Can’t wait to see some of these temples!

    • Dean Wickham Jul 11, 2012

      Oh that’s great Steve. I hope you have a wonderful time…I know you will. It’s Thailand! 🙂

  • Asian Travel Agent Dec 26, 2012

    There are much more Chiang Mai has to offer though and travelers often stay longer than they had planned. You may do so too if you’d been enchanted by this beautiful city.

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