My Time Capsule: Chiang Rai: The Blue Temple - Wat Rong Suea Ten

6.6.18

Chiang Rai: The Blue Temple - Wat Rong Suea Ten

Chiang Rai, February 2017




Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple is undoubtedly the most famous landmark in Chiang Rai. It's the first images popped up when I was googling some information about must visit places in Chiang Rai. While I think the architecture is indeed stunning, my heart was actually stolen by the Blue Temple - a lesser known temple located slightly outside Chiang Rai's city centre, in Rim Kok District. The Blue Temple is about 7 km away from Mae Fah Luang - Chiang Rai International Airport.


Wat Rong Suea Ten

The Blue Temple or it's called Wat Rong Suea Ten by the locals is considered a new temple. Construction of the monastery and temple started from 2005 on a 6 acres area - upon the ruins of an ancient temple which abandoned nearly 100 years ago. The main hall was only completed in January 2016 and until today there's still works going on sites. Thus only a handful of visitors around when I was there, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed this temple more than the White Temple. It was so serene and enhance a more spiritual experience.

"Suea Ten" in Thai literally means the dancing tigers. According to the locals, it's an area where some tigers used to jumped over the Mae Kok  River. The tigers leap in such graceful way that it looked as if they were dancing, hence the name of Rong Suea Ten village. Honestly, I was secretly disappointed that there wasn't any tigers in Ballet tutu dress doing a tiptoe pirouette or grand jetté. I know, I shouldn't set my hopes too high 🙅


sunset gleam

Naga

"Wow! Such a striking colours!" I blurted out upon seeing the exterior of the temple which is mainly in electric blue colour (or is it Smurfs blue?) embellished with intricate gold details and covered with bright terracotta roof tiles. It certainly looks very different from any other traditional temples I have visited in Thailand. A more vibrant one I should say.  A local friend told me that blue colour represents Dharma in tribute to Buddha which is also the symbol of purity, wisdom and healing. Even the pair of fierce naga (dragon) that guarding the hall's entrance are in blue colour.


Blue Temple, Chiang Rai

Blue Temple ceiling

beautiful painting at Wat Rong Suea Ten

I was walking into the ubosot or the main praying hall when I froze in awe. My eyes widened as they swept across the room. The tall pearl-white Buddha statue is undoubtedly beautiful but what amazed me more was the paintings that covers the entire walls, pillars and ceiling. Delicate paintings in Thai contemporary style was created by Phuttha Kabkaew. He is a student of the national artist - Chalermchai Kositpipat who designed Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple. Hand painted murals along the blue walls depict the Lord Buddha's spiritual journey and also a fiery giant demon can be seen atop the exit door which depicts Hell. I love the fact that there's some huge windows along both sides of the main hall that allow natural lights and cool breezes to pass through.


Wat Rong Suea Ten


one of the guard with Dharma wheel representing the teaching of the Buddha

Green Yasha

Around this temple I also spotted some Yakshas known as guardian warriors who keep away evil spirits. It's very common in Buddhist temples throughout the country since the 14th century. Yakshas are important element in Thai temple art and architecture.

At the back of the temple, there's a Buddha statue displaying Abhaya Mudra hand position or gesture of fearlessness. It represents protection, peace and benevolence.


 the standing Buddha statue at the rear 

I was walking towards the parking lot when I turned around, decided to take some last shots of the Blue temple. It was right before the sun went below the buildings behind this temple. The pinkish sunset light against the intricate ornaments of the temple creating luminous golden orbs as I clicked my camera shutter. I looked at my camera screen and smiled. I knew I have captured a perfect image I want to remember about my visit to this beautiful Blue Temple. Whenever I look at this photo, I can still feel the warmth of sunlight in my face. Fond memories, indeed 😊


Tips:
* Don't forget to take off your shoes/sandals before entering the main hall
* Entrance fee is free and photography is allowed inside the ubosot
* However selfies could be considered rude since it's disrespectful to turn your back on Buddha statue
* Never point your feet at Buddha statue
* Dress properly and prevent loud talking

How to get there:
I'm not quite sure if there's any public transportation to Wat Rong Suea Ten since I went there by a private vehicle. Take Highway 1 north before crossing Kok River Bridge. After about 350 metres you'll find a direction sign to this temple and turn left. For a fuss free trip, you can always hire Tuk-Tuk or Taxi for a very affordable fare 😁



36 comments:

  1. This place is definitely Insta famous. Thanks for sharing this / you have clicked some amazing shots, must have been a great experience

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    1. Thank you, Mayuri! I really enjoyed my afternoon in the Blue Temple :)

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  2. It is on my major bucket list to visit the white temple in Chiang Rai. I had no idea they had a blue temple! I would be gobsmacked to upon entering the temple. I can totally relate. Bet the pristine white Buddha was such an amazing contrast to all that blue.

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    1. Absolutely! The white Buddha statue looks 'glowing' against the blue walls. Super pretty :)

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  3. AMAZING the blue really makes it incredible! If a little garish lol!

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    1. Yep, I think it's really vibrant! :D

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  4. I love Buddhist temples and this one is no exception. Love the vibrant colours and the intricate carvings and detailing. It must have taken the artisans so much time and effort to create this magnificent temple. Definitely a must visit.

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    1. I can't imagine how much time and effort he took to hand paint all those intricate details! :D

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  5. This place is super duper amazing. I so regret that I didn't include Chiang Rai to my Thailand itinerary...

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    1. no worries, it's a reason to re-visit Thailand! I love Thailand so much, I always can't wait to plan my next visit :D

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  6. Absolutely stunning! Though I have to admit this is the first time I heard about blue color connections with Dharma.

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    1. Yeah, it's always fascinating for me to learn new things while travelling :D

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  7. This looks like a place out of a dream. It's so stunning! Cool to learn it is named after dancing tigers. The paintings by Phuttha Kabkaew would cause us to freeze in our tracks too. So incredible and what a work of art. Cannot believe it is free to enter here. Will have to go someday!

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    1. Yes, definitely worth a visit! You can combine a visit to the Blue Temple and the Black Temple in a day :)

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  8. What a fantastic tour of the blue temples - I actually love seeing these temples in one color since it stands out in your mind and everything is monochromatic so there are not as many jarring colorful objects that blare out whenever you go to these Thai temples.

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    1. The blue colour definitely stand out! I gives a soothing and serene aura too :D

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  9. You are right - I have only heard about the White Temple in Chiang Rai. I am sure that nobody would say that the White Temple was serene. So great to find a quieter spot. Even if you did not find any dancing tigers :-) The interior is absolutely stunning. I love all the colours. It was great that photography was allowed. Many temples do not allow it. Thanks for sharing this gem with us.

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    1. Yes, many temples do now allow photography including the White Temple. That's why I was ecstatic to find out that I could capture the interior of the Blue Temple :D

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  10. I have also only heard of the White Temple in Chiang Rai because that is the popular one but this blue temple looks equally spectacular! I love the splash of bright blue (yeah, you could call it a Smurfs blue haha). Truly amazing, I cannot wait to get to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai and I have a new temple to add to my list of places to see!

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    1. Honestly when I first time saw this temple, my mind instantly thought about the Smurfs, hahahaha. I hope you can make it to Chiang Rai soon and visit this beautiful temple :D

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  11. Very great place to visit, love the guardian warriors, they look pretty :) And in general it is one of Thailand's must-see temples, so interesting the history to it!

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    1. I love learning the story behind beautiful places. Maybe that's why I always long to explore new places :D

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  12. We've never been to Thailand but reading this and seeing the amazing photographs are another reason why we must go. Love the pictures taken as the sun was going down behind the temple.

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    1. I don't think I can ever get tired of visiting Thailand. I love the country so much! There's always something new to explore in each visit. Hope you can make it there soon :D

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  13. Wow! This is stunning. I was in Chiang Rai on a day tour, but we didn't stop here, we only went to the White Temple. I never knew that the color blue represents Dharma. I love learning new symbolism and facts about Buddhism. I will be sure to check out this beauty the next time I'm in Thailand.

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    1. Yeah usually a day tour doesn't include this temple. Perhaps next visit you'd want to stay a night or two in Chiang Rai to explore some hidden gems there :D

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  14. What a breathtaking beauty! The blue gives it such a serene and peaceful vibe - this would be a beautiful place to visit at sunset.

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    1. Absolutely! The blue colour gives a cooler ambiance and peaceful vibe :D

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  15. This is absolutely stunning. Missed visiting Chiang Rai when in Chiang Mai last year. Planning on heading back and this time will make it to Chiang Rai. Fantastic colors and good to learn about the colors and what they represent. Can't wait to visit. Great inspiration!

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    1. Yes, there's many to explore in Chiang Rai too. Please visit this temple when you are in town :D

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  16. Jiaaaahhh aku ga tau ada kuil yg ini. Pas ke chiang rai tujuan utama cuma white temple itu mba deb :). Hrs kesana lagi berarti.. Cantik birunyaa...

    Btw bbrp minggu lalu aku ketemu temen mba debbi, namanya Liza, owner dr Le Mangano resto.. :). Kmrn itu diundang utk ikutan Dream trips nya, trus ngobrol2 :)

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    1. Walahhhh, iyah aku satu sekolah sama Liza dari TK sampai SMU, hihihi. Sekarang dia tinggal di Jakarta n aku malah belum sempat mampir ke Le Mangano resto :D
      Mesti balik Chiang Rai lagi, deh, Fan. Aku pribadi malah lebih suka Blue Temple ini. Tapi ntah yaaaa kalau nanti sudah super crowded kayak White Temple :p

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  17. Thailand is a beautiful country! I would go back to it whenever I can. Chiang Mai is absolutely beautiful. The painting is absolutely beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Karla! Yes, I also love Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Can't wait to explore other parts of Thailand next time :D

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  18. cakep2 banget fotonya, aku suka pas pendar matahari jadi salah satu elemen objek foto

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    1. makasihhhhh, kak Danan. Aku juga suka banget matahari di sore hari :)

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