Photo: Freighter on the Mekong.

Wat Chedi Luang

Our rating:

Wat Chedi Luang is a wonderful old atmospheric temple and chedi set amid a grove of mature trees; if you only see one temple in Chiang Saen make it this one. Wat Chedi Luang translates as ‘royal stupa temple’, so named since it’s thought to have been the principal temple of Phaya Saen Pu’s capital city. If this is true, the temple then dates to the early 14th century and, according to people who know about these things, the octagonal base of the imposing 18-metre chedi represents the classic Chiang Saen style.

See, we told you it was octagonal!

See, we told you it was octagonal!

It’s got an appealing balance of ancient, ruined and slightly overgrown along with an active, lived-in feel, which is why we particularly like it. (We’re not so keen on some of the gaudy modern ones or the manicured historical sites.)

Seated Buddha of Wat Chedi Luang.

Seated Buddha at Wat Chedi Luang.

A temporary roof has been built over the ruined viharn (main worshipping hall) and a more recent, but nonetheless attractive, seated Buddha image installed allowing locals, and visitors, to worship and make offerings and monks to officiate. There was considerable building work under way when we visited in mid-2015, so we can’t say what the final result will look like.

East gate, the former main entrance.

East gate, the former main entrance.

Some walls of the outer enclosure of the temple still remain. Above is the overgrown east gate with sacred boddhi ficus religiosa tree.

A gong awaits.

A gong awaits.

Numerous other adjacent ruins indicate it must have been a much larger and impressive construction in its heyday.

There’s a few souvenir stalls in the carpark out front and a very good little coffee shop called Heaven On Earth is located opposite the picturesque east gate.

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Location map for Wat Chedi Luang

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Saen.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Chiang Saen.
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