Wat Rong Seur Ten, better known as the ‘Blue Temple’, is a very ornate Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai province which has become a popular tourist attraction.
Wat Rong Seur Ten is located on the north side of the Kok River from Chaing Rai town and a visit to the Blue Temple is easily combined with a visit to the awe inspiring Wat Huay Plan Kang, which is also on the north side of the Kok River. The Blue Temple is open every day from 06:00 to 20:00 and admission is free, although donations are welcomed. Without donations the temple has no income to maintain the buildings.
About Wat Rong Seur Ten
Wat Rong Seur Ten is a new temple built on the site of an older dilapidated temple. Construction of the new temple started in 2005 and main temple building, the ordination hall, was completed in 2016.
House of the Dancing Tiger
Wat Rong Seur Ten is named after the village in which it is located, Rong Seur Ten village. The name ‘Rong Seur Ten’ means house of the dancing tiger and the legend is that many years ago tigers would come to the village to jump over the river. There are small islands in the Kok River near the village which in theory may have made this particular location a good crossing point for wild animals.
Connection to the White Temple
Despite the difference in colour scheme, Wat Rong Seur Ten bears some similarities in style to the more famous White Temple in Chiang Rai. The elaborate use of plaster work and style of the paintings are clearly part of the same artistic tradition. This is not accidental. The main artist behind the work at Wat Rong Seur Ten, Phuttha Kabkaew, studied with Chalermchai Kositpipat, who is the artist who designed the White Temple.
The ordination hall at Wat Rong Seur Ten is an elaborate and complex work of art. It is worth spending some time looking closely at component features of the temple individually. As you enter the temple there are some interesting statues relating to the mythology of Thai Buddhism including statues of naga (mythical serpents) and spirits known as ‘yak’ in Thailand who often take on forms such as ogres at temples in Thailand and at Wat Rong Seur Ten are represented as winged men who are guardians of the temple. The main Buddha statue in the temple is white porcelain which looks blue as it reflects the hue of the mainly blue colour scheme instead the temple.
Rear of the Temple
As well as going inside the ordination hall at Wat Rong Seur Ten you should also walk around it all the way to the rear where there is a large white standing Buddha statue, which is magnificently framed against a deep blue background edged by golden plaster work on the edges of the wall and the fascia boards of the tiered roof.
Wat Rong Seur Ten also has a blue and gold stupa. Besides the colour scheme, the shape of the stupa is unusual as well, blending Burmese and Nepalese temple forms in a way that is unique.
Location of Wat Rong Seur Ten
- Wat Rong Seur Ten is located 3.9 km by road Chiang Rai Bus Terminal 1.