Chiang Saen is an ancient town, on the banks of the Nam Mae Kong (Mekong River) and in close proximity to both the Laos and Myanmar borders… Its history is coloured by invasions, kingdoms, Buddhism and the river itself…
Table of Contents
The Chiang Saen National Museum is adjacent to Wat Phra That Chedi Luang, on the main road leading into town from the west. Exhibits and artifacts found locally include Chiang Saen-style bronze Buddha images and Lanna Thai artifacts. Chiang Saen inscription stones, musical instruments, ornaments and opium-smoking accessories.are housed in the museum, along with art objects of the Tai Yai, Tai Lue and other ethnic groups.
Opening Times: Wednesday – Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm
NB: museum is NOT open in national holidays.
There are several temples in or near the town that are well worth a visit.
Wat Phra That Pha Ngao is situated on a hilltop on the southern riverfront entrance to the town of Chiang Saen. There are panoramic views across the Mekong river into the PDR of Laos.
Wat Phra That Chedi Luang dates back to 1290 and is located next to Chiang Saen National Museum. The ancient 88-meter high, bell-shaped, Lanna style principal chedi has a 24 meter circumference base. Constructed in 1290 by King Saen Phu, the 3rd ruler of the Lanna kingdom, it is the tallest Lanna monument in Chiang Rai province. The site also includes remains of ancient vihans and chedis.
Wat Phra Chao Lan Thong is located within the old city walls, and was reputedly built in 1489 by Prince Thong Ngua, a son of King Tilokkarat, the 12th ruler of the ancient Lanna kingdom. It houses two significant Buddha statues;
Located on the riverfront street, northern end of town.
Wat Pa Sak is located 1km west of Chiang Saen in Tambon Wiang, once the residence of the patriarch. King Saen Phu built the temple in 1295, and the 300 teak trees that were planted then gave rise to the temple’s name – Pa Sak (Teak Forest). With its ornamental stucco motifs, Wat Pa Sak’s 12.5 m tall chedi is regarded one of the most beautiful examples of Lanna architecture in northern Thailand.
Located approximately 1.7 kilometres from town, this hilltop temple has a pagoda containing a Buddha relic.
Situated not far away from Wat Phra That Chom Kitti is Wat Sangkha Kaew Don Han where sketches on brick slabs tell stories about the various reincarnations of the Lord Buddha.