Wat Chedi Luang

Pride of Chiang Saen

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What we say: 3.5 stars

Wat Chedi Luang translates as 'royal stupa temple' and there are no shortage of temples in Thailand with the same name, including important ones in Chiang Mai and Sukhothai. Chiang Saen's Wat Chedi Luang is thought to date from the 13th or 14th centuries and is believed to have been the principal temple of King Mengrai's former capital city. The octagonal base of the 18 metre chedi is built in classic Chiang Saen style. The chedi isn't exactly awe-inspiring with its overgrown steps and crumbling top, but it is still imposing. We particularly like this temple thanks to its balance of ancient/ruined/slightly overgrown and active/lived-in feel. It's still a working temple with several resident monks, and locals are regularly found offering incense and flowers to the particularly jovial looking seated Buddha. Both a ruined and new wihaan are found here, and several lesser ruins are scattered around the grounds, including the east gate that's now partially covered by the roots of a sacred Bodhi tree. Wat Chedi Luang is situated near the town's old west gate and the Chiang Saen Museum.

Last updated: 2nd November, 2012


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