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Wat Huay Pla Kang – The Must-Visit ‘Big Buddha’ Temple In Chiang Rai

Wat Huay Pla Kang is an absolutely stunning temple located in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

It’s famous for the giant Goddess of Mercy statue, as well as the white dragon-like naga serpents leading up the stairs that you’ve no doubt seen all over social media, and is a must-visit on any Chiang Rai travel guide.

This article gives you everything you need to know about Wat Huay Pla Kang, including how to get there, opening times and entrance fees, as well as what else to see at the temple complex.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

Where Is Wat Huay Pla Kang In Chiang Rai?

Wat Huay Pla Kang is located 7 kilometers north-west of downtown Chiang Rai. It’s situated on a hill, offering beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding area. Here is the Google maps location.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

How To Get To Wat Huay Pla Kang

Wat Huay Pla Kang is easily accessible if you plan to visit independently either by car, grab taxi or scooter from Chiang Rai city center.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

It takes about 15 minutes to drive here from the centre of Chiang Rai, and there are plenty of parking spots available in the car park. 

Renting a scooter is the cheapest way to get here, however grab taxis are very reasonably priced and the most convenient option if you prefer someone else to drive.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

A Grab taxi should cost around 100 THB one way from the centre of Chiang Rai to Wat Huay Pla Kang.

If you wish to explore Chiang Rai as part of a tour, check out these tours below that all include a stop here:

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About Wat Huay Pla Kang

Wat Huay Pla Kang consists of three temples on the same site, all of which were built relatively recently in 2009.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

The most famous temple is the one with the giant Goddess Of Mercy/Guan Yin Statue, but the other two temples are equally as unique and beautiful. They are all located next to one another so it’s very easy to visit them all.

Wat Huay Pla Kang is a really peaceful place to visit as there are very few tourists here compared to busy tourist spots in Chiang Rai such as The White Temple. The absence of big tour groups means it’s a really pleasant place to explore and take photos.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

Giant Goddess Of Mercy/ Guan Yin Statue

The Goddess of Mercy/Guan Yin Statue is a towering statue that is the highlight of Wat Huay Pla Kang for many people. It is a beautiful white statue that overlooks Chiang Rai and can be seen from far away.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

Many people actually think the statue is a giant buddha, and often incorrectly call it the Big Buddha Temple, but it is a female statue and is referred to as the Chinese Buddhist Goddess Of Mercy.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

At 69 metres high, this is one of the tallest statues in Thailand. The statue looks incredible from the outside, with Guan Yin sitting on top of a lotus pedestal. Visitors can go inside the statue – climb up the stairs or use the elevator to go up the 23 storeys.

At the top, visitors are rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of Chiang Rai and the surrounding countryside.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

The staircase leading up to the Goddess Of Mercy statue is magnificent, with the mythological dragon-like naga serpent creatures lining either side of the stairs. The detail on the mythological creatures is incredible and they look so good in photos.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

White Temple

Next to the Goddess Of Mercy statue is a white temple – although a lot smaller in size, it is magnificent and the detail on the temple is incredible. 

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

This white temple is said to resemble Wat Rong Khun – the famous White Temple in Chiang Rai.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

Nine Tiered Pagoda 

Next to the white temple is the large 9-storey high pagoda or chedi, known as Phop Chok Dhamma Chedi.

It is adorned with beautifully intricate Buddhist artwork and statues and shaped in an unusually shaped circular pyramid – in comparison to the usual square or circular shaped pagodas.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

The architecture is unique and eye-catching as it blends traditional Thai and Chinese styles together and has very colourful mosaics and carvings. You may see it referred to sometimes as The Red Temple of Chiang Rai due to the colour of its roof.

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You can get some really nice photographs of the outside of the temple on the steps with the gold, red and green Chinese dragons that guard the entrance to the pagoda.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

The inside of the pagoda is really interesting too, with statues of deities and Buddha. Plus, you can also climb to the top of the pagoda to enjoy stunning views.

Opening Hours & Entrance Fee At Wat Huay Pla Kang

There is no cost to enter Wat Huay Pla Kang – entrance is free. If you wish to take the elevator up the Giant Guan Yin Statue, it costs 40 THB (it is free if you want to walk up).

The Wat Huay Pla Kang temple complex is open daily from 7am until 9pm. It is a really nice place to watch the sunrise or sunset, but even if you visit in the middle of the day like we did, it still won’t be crowded so it’s enjoyable to visit at any time of the day.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

The temple complex is lit up spectacularly at night, so if you visit for sunset, make sure to hang around for a little while to see it lit up!

What To Wear When Visiting Wat Huay Pla Kang

As with all Buddhist temples in Thailand, both men and women should dress modestly when visiting Wat Huay Pla Kang.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

This means covering shoulders, knees, and avoiding revealing clothing. Sarongs and shawls are sometimes available to rent or buy at the entrance to the temple.

Wat Huay Pla Kang often holds religious ceremonies and rituals so it’s important to dress and behave respectfully, in a quiet manner.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

It serves as a place of worship and you’ll probably see a few Buddhist monks here, so you can really get an insight into the Thai Buddhist culture and observe their customs and practices.

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

Amenities At Wat Huay Pla Kang

There is a restaurant onsite at Wat Huay Pla Kang, as well as a souvenir shop should you wish to buy any gift or souvenirs!

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

Other Places To Visit Near Wat Huay Pla Kang

The magical Lalitta Cafe is just down the road from Wat Huay Pla Kang, a little over a kilometre away.

This is a really impressive cafe/restaurant with an indoor waterfall and mist to cool you down from the heat, and it makes it the perfect place to stop off before or after visiting Wat Huay Pla Kang.

lalitta cafe chiang rai

Other nearby temples in Chiang Rai that are must-visit locations include The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), The Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), both just a 15 minute drive away.

If you fancy getting out of town, a visit to the Choui Fong Tea Plantation is a great place to spend half a day relaxing and enjoying the beautiful views of tea terraces as far as the eye can see!

Summary

Wat Huay Pla Kang is an absolutely breath taking temple in Chiang Rai – it’s probably my favourite temple in the whole of Chiang Rai as it is so beautiful, and so peaceful without all the crowds!

Wat Huay Pla Kang Chiang Rai Goddess of Mercy buddha temple

With a unique style and breathtaking views, make sure you include it on your Chiang Rai itinerary!