Chiang Rai Clock Tower
Wieng, Muang Chiang Rai, Chiangrai 57000, Thailand
Thailand may not be known for its roundabouts (or is it that Thai drivers don’t know how to use rondabouts?), but it surely is known for its lavish monumental architecture and the New Clock Tower in Chiang Rai city doesn’t disappoint. If you like clock towers, anyway, as this may be one of the most beautiful in the world.
Yes, it is just a clock tower, but it essentially marks the center of the city at the intersection of Jetyod Road and Phahonyothin Road, and it would be a hard time not to see it on a trip to Chiang Rai. The golden pinnacle rises over 15m and is designed in a fluid, curving style typical of Thai art brought to a peak by tower designer Chalermchai Kositpipat. Chiang Rai native Chalermchai is a National Artist most famous for his dreamlike paintings and his ongoing masterwork, Wat Rung Khun also in Chaing Rai. Charlermchai designed and built the tower out of concrete, steel, golden paint and mirror tiles in 2008 as a dedication to Thai King Bhumiphol Adulyadej.
“Right,” you’re probably thinking, “but what does it DO?” Besides telling the time (usually) and providing something pretty to look at in an otherwise rather dreary intersection, the clock tower actually does do something. It puts on a show! Nightly at 7, 8, and 9pm a short music and light show transforms the tower and mildly excites tourists and locals alike. There is a rumour going around that within the 5 to 10 minute show, the tower actually moves, Transformer style.
Your faithful reporter was too busy fiddling with the camera and dodging motorcycles (Warning! It is still an active traffic circle!) to confirm this rumour, but blurry photos prove it’s true! Find out for yourself by timing a walk past on the hour in the late evening on your way to Walking Street or in the morning when it’s not unbearably hot.
This post is also available in: Thai