Golden Triangle Thailand
Thailand Golden Triangle Travel Guide and Information
The Golden Triangle is in Chiang Rai Province, in the far north of Thailand. The English name comes from the meeting of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand here, but to the locals it's Sop Ruak, since this is where the Mekong meets the Ruak River.
Golden Triangle Thailand is one of Thailand's famous tourist destinations and it covers a huge area of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos and it is actually the name of the point where these places converge together.
The Golden Triangle covers an area of about 195,000 square kilometers and covers three separate countries; Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.
History of Thailand Golden Triangle
Historically the Golden Triangle has been an area well-known for the growing of opium, and the name comes from a US State Department memo on the practice. These days, though, the place lives on the cultivation of tourists, and this is undoubtedly the largest tourist trap in northern Thailand.
About Thailand Golden Triangle
The landscape is hilly, divided by the Ruak River that flows into the Mekong (Mae Khong) River. These rivers form a natural boundary between the three countries Laos (to the east of the Mekong), Myanmar (to the north of the Ruak), and Thailand (to the west of the Mae Khong).
How to reach
Most people come here on guided bus tours. For independent travellers, blue songthaews run through the Golden Triangle from Mae Sai (45 min, 40 baht) to Chiang Saen (15 min, 20 baht) and back again every 20 minutes or so until around 15:00.
Places to See and Visit during Thailand Golden Triangle
The place also has many sightseeing spots like towns and villages adorning the landscape of the place. The place is located in the northern most point of Thailand. The main area is the Thai riverside near the point where the rivers meet, which — in the dry season, when the Mekong runs low — is even marked by a handy sandbar.
This in itself is pretty anticlimactic, so a series of increasingly bizarre attractions have been erected by the riverside to make up for it: there's a giant golden Buddha on a ship, elephant statues where you can clamber to pose atop a palanquin (in exchange for a donation, of course), elaborate shrines to the royal family, half a dozen signs stating that yes, this really is the Golden Triangle and, inevitably, river cruise touts, souvenir shops and Western-style cafes.
Phra That Doi Pu Khao: is located on the hill just before the Golden Triangle and believed to have been built by a king of Wiang Hirannakhon Ngoen Yang in mid-8th century. Remains of antiquities are in the Viharn with crumbled Chedis.
Hall of Opium, Golden Triangle Park: One of the best museums in all Thailand and almost certainly the most interesting place to visit in the Golden Triangle, the Hall of Opium exhibits the history of opium around the world and in the area, the process of production, the effects of opium smoking and campaigns to eradicate and substitute the crop.
House of Opium: A genuine privately run museum, unrelated to and much smaller and more serious in tone than the Hall. Lots of opium paraphernalia and information on the production process from beginning to end. 50 baht.
Hotels for Thailand Golden Triangle Tour
- Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa
- Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
5 Days Travel Itinerary for Thailand Golden Triangle Tour
Day 1: Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Chiang Saen
TUE / SUN Pick up passengers from various major Bangkok hotels and transfer to Bangkok domestic airport. Depart Bangkok by TG-100 (06:30 - 07:40) to Chiang Mai, where your guide well meet and greet you. Drive to Chiang Rai via Wiang Pa Pao with an en route stop at a Karen village and the Hot Springs. Lunch at a local restaurant in Chiang Rai. Continue to Chiang Saen, the former capital of the first Thai Lanna Kingdom, situated on the Mekong River on the border between Thailand and Laos. Visit Wat Phra Dhat Jom Kitti by climbing 383 steps to the top of the hill. Continue by long-tailed speedboat on the Mekong River towards the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge. Dinner and overnight at Imperial Golden Triangle Resort.
Day 2: Chiang Saen - Doi Mae Salong - Mae Sai - Chiang Rai
WED / MON After Breakfast, depart from Chiang Saen to Mae Sai, the northern-most point of Thailand on the Thai - Burmese border. In the border town of Mae Sai visit a Jade Cutting Factory and the colorful market, where handicrafts and souvenirs are on sale. The next stop will be made at the Fish and Monkey Cave. Proceed to Doi Mae Salong, passing through mountain scenery. The view from the top takes in a large part of Thailand, Burma and the Mekong Valley. Lunch at Doi Mae Salong Villa, then continue to visit Akha, Yao and Lisu Tribes before returning to your hotel in Chiang Rai. Dinner and overnight at Wiang Inn Hotel.
Day 3: Chiang Rai - Thatorn - Hmong Hilltribe Lodge
THU / TUE After Breakfast, transfer to the boat pier. Then board simple long-tailed motorboats for a three-hour journey on the Kok River, passing tiny hill tribe villages, bamboo huts and jungle scenery. Further upriver, visit a Lahu hill tribe village. The last stop before arriving at Thatorn is made at the village of Ban Pha Tai. Lunch at Maekok River Village Resort. Proceed by bus to Mae Rim via Fang and Chiang Dao. Continue by pick-up truck to the Hmong Hilltribe Lodge. BBQ dinner followed by a presentation of Meo dances and songs. Overnight at Hmong Hilltribe Lodge.
Day 4: Hmong Hilltribe Lodge - Chiang Mai
FRI / WED After Breakfast, visit the elephant camp in Mae Saa and watch the elephants at work. Their strength and clever teamwork will amaze you.
Continue to visit an Orchid Farm. After lunch at a local restaurant, you will visit various Handicraft Villages, where you can watch the artisans at work: See, how lacquer-ware is made, the spinning and weaving of Thai Silk and how paper umbrellas are painted. You will also visit a well known Thai wood carving factory and have the change to buy Burmese antiques and see the reputable Gems Gallery.
In the evening enjoy a typical Kantoke dinner with a presentation of traditional dances from Northern Thailand. Overnight at Empress Chiang Mai Hotel.
Day 5: Chiang Mai – Bangkok
SAT / THU After Breakfast, visit the most interesting places in Chiang Mai such as Wat Phra Singh with its famous Buddha image, the Hill tribe museum and Wat Doi Suthep, tucked away in the mountains at 1,056 meters above sea level. The temple is reached by climbing 290 steps, which are flanked by a NAGA balustrade on both sides. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to Chiang Mai Airport for the return flight to Bangkok. Depart Chiang Mai by TG-113 (15:15 - 16:25). Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in Bangkok.