Visiting the Chiang Rai Blue Temple in 2024: Ultimate Guide

The Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, also known as Wat Rong Suea Ten or the “Temple of the Dancing Tiger,” is one of the most famous attractions in Northern Thailand. 

Chances are that you’ve seen some incredible photos of this vibrant, sapphire-blue temple all over Instagram!

After spending almost 8 months in Thailand and living just 3 hours away, I finally made it to Chiang Rai and spent 4 days exploring. 

One of my first stops was the Blue Temple, and I can confidently say it’s one of the most photogenic temples I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen A LOT of temples!). Its stunning cerulean colors and gold trim make it a standout. Plus, it’s free to visit!

So, let’s talk about the temple’s history, how to visit efficiently, avoid crowds, and capture those perfect photos, making your trip as smooth and memorable as possible. 

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A solo female traveler (me) standing next to the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand, the second thing to do on this Chiang Rai Travel Guide.

Basic Info: Visiting Chiang Rai’s Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten)

Here’s everything you need to know to make your visit to the Chiang Rai Blue Temple smooth and enjoyable.

The exterior of Wat Rong Suea Ten, the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, showcasing a white Buddha statue in a lotus position surrounded by a blue fountain and elaborate temple decorations.

Blue Temple Chiang Rai Entrance Fee

One of the best things about visiting the Blue Temple is its free

You can explore this stunning temple without worrying about entrance fees, a nice bonus if you’re on a budget. 

Let’s hope they don’t start charging anytime soon!

The ornate entrance sign of Wat Rong Suea Ten, the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, featuring intricate blue and gold carvings with Thai script.

Blue Temple Chiang Rai Opening Hours

The Blue Temple is open daily from 7am to 8pm, offering longer hours than the White Temple. 

This flexibility makes it easier to plan your visit around other activities in Chiang Rai. 

I got there around 9:30am during the rainy season, and there were just a handful of visitors, giving me plenty of room to take pictures. I imagine it gets a bit more crowded during peak season!

Close-up of ornate blue and gold temple decorations at Wat Rong Suea Ten, the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, featuring intricate designs and a golden Buddha statue.

Blue Temple Chiang Rai Location

The Blue Temple is located at:

306 หมู่ที่ 2 ตําบล, 303 Maekok Rd, Rim Kok, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand

It’s just a quick visit, taking about 30 minutes to look around and take pictures. 

Afterward, I recommend stopping by Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House, one of the most beautiful and delicious cafes in Chiang Rai. It’s just a 5-minute walk or 2-minute drive away. Try their khao soi and coconut cake!

A traveler taking a selfie in front of the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, capturing its beautiful architecture.

Blue Temple Chiang Rai Dress Code

As with any temple in Thailand, modest dress is required when visiting the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai. 

Here are the guidelines:

  • Shoulders and knees must be covered.
  • Avoid tight clothing, midriff-baring outfits, and anything too revealing.
  • No cleavage.
  • Shoes must be removed before entering the temple.

I usually bring a cover-up or sarong when I’m exploring Thailand. This way, I can easily cover my shoulders and knees when I visit temples.

A solo female traveler (me) in vibrant clothing walks in front of the intricately designed entrance of Wat Rong Suea Ten, the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, featuring a golden facade.

How to Get to Blue Temple Chiang Rai

Getting to the Blue Temple from Chiang Rai city center is quick and easy. It’s just an 8-minute drive away from town.

The Blue Temple is only 22 minutes from the White Temple and 17 minutes to the Baan Dam Museum, making it easy to include all three in a half-day of sightseeing. 

Here are your best options for transportation:

From Chiang Rai City Center

  • Scooter: I took a scooter, which was convenient and allowed me to explore at my own pace. I rented mine from Nice Rental for 210 baht/day.
  • Grab Taxi or Tuk-Tuk: These are readily available and affordable, costing about 80-120 baht each way. If you take a tuk tuk, make sure you negotiate the price before you get in. I find tuk tuks to be a little more expensive than Grab usually, but they are a lot more fun!
  • Day Tours: If you’re short on time, consider joining a day tour. This tour starts and ends in Chiang Rai and includes stops at the Choui Fong Tea Plantation and Golden Triangle. This tour also starts and ends in Chiang Rai, and includes a visit to the temples and a Long Neck Karen Village. 

From Chiang Mai

👉 If you’re short on time and don’t want to spend hours in crowded public transport, check out this Chiang Rai Temples Private Tour from Chiang Mai. It has over 200 5-Star reviews and includes the most famous White Temple plus lesser-known ones without so many tourists.

A majestic white Buddha statue and a blue elephant sculpture in front of the richly decorated Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, known as Wat Rong Suea Ten.

Blue Temple Chiang Rai History

The Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, also known as Wat Rong Suea Ten, stands on the site of an old temple that was abandoned almost a century ago. 

Locals tell fascinating stories about wildlife, including tigers that were said to roam the area, which is why it’s also known as the “Temple of the Dancing Tiger.”

Despite its ancient roots, the Blue Temple is brand new, having been constructed from 2005 to 2016. The local village wanted to rebuild a temple on this historic site, and they entrusted the design to Phutha Kabkaew, more commonly known as Salah Nok, a student of the renowned White Temple artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat.

Phutha Kabkaew’s influence on his student is evident in the temple’s stunning and contemporary design, featuring vibrant sapphire blue and cerulean colors with intricate gold trim. 

The Blue Temple is not just a place of worship but a modern masterpiece, blending traditional Thai architecture with innovative artistry. The blue color symbolizes the virtues of Buddha, purity, wisdom, and the absence of materialism.

🌶️ My pick for the best cooking class in Chiang Rai is this Half-Day Thai Cooking Class with Organic Ingredients–it includes a tour of a local market and has a 5-star rating!

What You’ll See at Wat Rong Suea Ten in Chiang Rai

Most temples in Thailand are adorned with gold (or even silver), but Wat Rong Suea Ten stands out with its brilliant sapphire blue and cerulean hues, accented by intricate gold trim. This vibrant color scheme is one reason why it’s one of the most photogenic temples I’ve ever visited.


Like many temples in Southeast Asia, including Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, the Blue Temple is guarded by imposing naga serpents and other mythical creatures. These protectors add a layer of mystique and grandeur to the temple’s entrance. You’ll also notice yakshis, female nature spirits, believed to protect the temple from evil.

Behind the temple, there is a striking Buddha statue that adds to the serene ambiance of the grounds.


Inside, the temple is a feast for the eyes with its bright blue walls and colorful patterns. The interior walls are covered in paintings depicting stories from Buddha’s life, offering a more contemporary and modern take compared to most traditional temples. 

In the center of the main hall sits a magnificent seated Buddha statue, radiating tranquility.

Unlike the White Temple, which has strict rules against photographing the interior, the Blue Temple doesn’t seem to mind if you take photos inside, at least for now. This allows you to capture the stunning details and vibrant colors that make this temple so unique.

Statue of Buddha at the stunning Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, adorned with intricate golden details. No Chiang Rai Travel Guide is complete without the Blue Temple!

Final Thoughts: Is the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai Worth Visiting?

The Blue Temple in Chiang Rai is free to visit, located conveniently close to town, and is a unique, vibrant blue color compared to the traditional gold temples found throughout Thailand. Its brilliant sapphire and cerulean hues make it one of the best photo ops in Northern Thailand!

However, I wouldn’t recommend traveling all the way to Chiang Rai solely to visit the Blue Temple and the White Temple, as many travelers do. While both temples are extremely photogenic, there’s so much more to do in Chiang Rai that truly captures the essence of the region. 

Instead of a rushed day trip, take the time to explore the beautiful waterfalls, visit small villages and tea plantations, and enjoy the local cafes. Spending just one day in Chiang Rai only gives you enough time to snap a few photos, missing out on the full experience this charming city has to offer.

So yes, it’s worth visiting when you’re in Chiang Rai, but it’s not the best thing to do there! 
Now that you know how to visit the Chiang Rai Blue Temple, make sure you know what else to do, where to stay, and all my best tips for exploring Chiang Rai.

Read More About Chiang Rai:

📝 Thailand Travel Planning Guide 🇹🇭🌟

Before you embark on your unforgettable journey to Thailand here are the essential tips every traveler should know:

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Thailand?

✅ 100% YES! — My #1 Safety Tip for all travelers is to buy travel insurance for every trip in case anything happens on their visit. I recommend and use SafetyWing – it’s cheap and comprehensive.

💧Can you drink the water in Thailand?

🚱 No — It’s recommended to drink filtered or bottled water in Thailand (but using tap water to brush your teeth is usually fine). I recommend this reusable water bottle! It works great, turning tap water into safe-to-drink water that tastes good.

🚙💨 Is it safe to rent a car in Thailand?

Yes — Renting a car in Thailand is one of the best ways to see the countryside! I recommend Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local companies, so you get the best rates.

🏩 What’s the best way to book my Thailand accommodations?

My go-to for Thailand hotels is For hostels, I use HostelWorld. Or get free accommodations with Trusted Housesitters!

✈️ What’s the best site to book Thailand flights?

For finding cheap Thailand flights, I recommend CheapOAir.

🎫 Do I need a visa for Thailand?

🙅🏻‍♀️ Likely Not — US, UK, and EU passport holders don’t need visas for stays of up to 30 days in Thailand.

💰 𝗖𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆: The currency here is the Thai baht, and there are plenty of ATMs if you need cash. I always withdraw from ATMs to get the best rates (select “no” when it asks you if you accept the conversion rate).

🚕 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: Getting around Thailand is a breeze! Grab is safe and cheap in major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Bangkok has a modern metro. It’s easy to use local transport such as songthaews, too.

📶 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘁𝘆: Thailand has reliable internet connectivity. SIM cards are easy to find and cheap.