Wat Chedi Luang, is located next to the National Museum, was once Chiang Saen’s main temple. There’s no exact date for the temple’s founding, but most agree it must have been between the twelfth and fourteenth century.
The large chedi (pagoda) which gives the temple its name is 18 meters (60 feet) tall. The octagonal shape is considered typical of the Chiang Saen style. Next to the chedi is the ruins of a large wiharn (prayer hall). In recent years a new roof has been built over the chapel and a new Buddha image installed, although the sides of the hall are still open.
Constructed in 1290 by King Saen Phu, the 3rd ruler of the Lanna kingdom, it is the tallest religious Lanna monument in Chiang Rai. In addition, there are also remains of ancient vihans and chedis.
Just inside the western gate to the city and next to Wat Chedi Luang is the Chiang Saen branch of the National Museum. The museum is a good starting point if you’re planning to spend some time looking around. There are pictures of the major temples around town, as well as artifacts recovered from various excavations. Some of them date from pre-history.
There’s a 30 baht (1.01 USD) for entry to the museum for westerners. The museum is open 8:30 am to 4:30 pm from Wednesday to Sunday.