Chiang Rai City Pillar Shrine, or San Lak Muang

Chiang Rai City Pillar is nice symmetry with symbolism


I discovered Chiang Rai City Pillar Shrine when I visited Wat Phrathat Doi Chom Thong. Chiang Rai City Pillar is right next door, inside the temple grounds.

In 1987 to celebrate King Bhumibol’s 60th birthday and Chiang Rai’s 725th anniversary, the governor of Chiang Rai built the City Pillar Shrine.

Chiang Rai City Pillar was designed in Khmer style based on Lanna culture, with a central pillar surrounded by 108 smaller pillars.

The central pillar is as tall as the king and five times wide as his fist.

The central area symbolizes the six tiers of the heavens, and the outer parts represent the earth and the rivers.

You can find City Pillar Shrines in most cities all over Thailand; I have seen and photographed my share.


There is also a little altar, where you can make merit, say a prayer, light a candle or an incense stick


The first City Pillar Shrine was built in 1782 when King Rama I moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok.

Shortly after, City Pillar Shrine appeared in other cities and provinces to symbolize the central power.

If you visit Wat Phrathat Doi Chom Thong anyway, you might as well walk the extra 50 meters and see Chiang Rai City Pillar Shrine.


How to find Chiang Rai City Pillar Shrine

Get Google help to get to Chiang Rai City Pillar Shrine, or San Lak Muang as it is called in Thai.