Interesting area for a stroll
Published/Last edited or updated: 11th June, 2019
According to Thai historians, there has been a stupa on the site of the low hill which is home to Wat Prathat Doi Chom Thong since the 10th century, when it was raised to hold a Buddha relic—hence the Prathat title—which makes the original chedi both pre-Thai and pre-Chiang Rai.
The local king at the time ordered some relics which had come into his hands to be split between the three hill-top temples of Wat Doi Tung, Wat Doi Chom Thong and Wat Prathat Chom Kiti in today’s Chiang Saen district.
Supposedly it is from the site of Doi Chom Thong that King Mengrai surveyed the surrounds and declaring that it would be a fine place to build a city, and ordered the construction of Chiang Rai in 1260. He also restored the already ancient stupa and temple site so most of what you see today probably dates originally from the late 13th century.
The current stupa is hexagonal, so typical Chiang Saen style, and clad in gold leaf while the main wiharn is decorated in vivid scarlet and gold. The wat now has added prestige due to being the location for Chiang Rai’s very linga-esque founding city pillar. You’ll see this sited on a modern concrete base surrounded by lesser pillars just to the side of the main temple.
This might be one of the most prestigious temples for locals, but not perhaps the most interesting for foreign visitors, although what we appreciated most—as with King Mengrai—were the magnificent views from the hill-top.
This is another site that is perhaps not worth a visit on its own but makes for a convenient halt and viewpoint as part of a walking tour of the area or combined with a stroll along leafy Kraisorasit Road. What’s more the grounds hold the Forget Me Not Coffee shop so very pleasant for a morning brew while you’re admiring the view.
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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