Wat Loi Kroh

Wat Loi Kroh

The temple of the people from Chiang Saen

Wat Loi Kroh is a temple located on Loi Kroh Road 65. Although the temple is on a tourist street, very few tourists visit Wat Loi Kroh. The temple has a very interesting history though. It was constructed in the year 1456 (2000 B.E,) during the reign of King Kue Na, the 6th king of the Mengrai Dynasty of the Lanna Kingdom . This was an Indianized state centered in present-day Northern Thailand from the 13th to 18th centuries. Between 1558 and 1774 Chiang Mai was part of a Burmese kingdom.

Painting with elephants
Wall painting at Wat Loi Kroh
In 1774 Prince Kawila of Lampang liberated Chiang Mai after many years of bloody struggle. The Burmese occupation and years of warfare left Chiang Mai deserted and in ruins. In 1802 Prince Kawila paid homage to the King of Siam and became the new ruler of Chiang Mai.
Statues of two sitting men
King Kawila and his brother Boonma at Wat Phuttabaht Tak Pha, Pasang

The reconstruction of Chiang Mai

The rule of Kawila is known as the period of the reconstruction of Chiang Mai. He started repopulating Chiang Mai and Lamphun. This was the period of “gathering and putting vegetables into the basket and gathering and relocating people into the town”. While reconstructing Chiang Mai and Lamphun, Kawila and his troops went around the neighbouring city-states in the region persuading and forcibly convincing people to come and live in the two cities. In this way, Kawila was able to spread his sovereignty over Chiang Tung, Chiang Rung, and various townships in Sibsong Panna, and a number of towns in the Salween valley.

Kawila conquers Chiang Saen

In 1804, Kawila retook Chiang Saen from the Konbaung dynasty,  the last dynasty that ruled Burma from 1752 to 1885. It is probably around that time that villagers from Ban Hom, a settlement near Chiang Saen migrated to the Loi Kroh area. They started reconstructing Wat Loi Kroh, which was probably a ruined temple.

The temple is the starting point of some of our samlor tours.