When I was in Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand, most of the tours listed in the travel agent windows included a stop at the Golden Triangle. Apart from it’s notorious history in Opium smuggling and the fact that it is the meeting point of three different countries, I knew very little about it, so I was intrigued to go and see what all the fuss is about.
What followed was a bit of an adventure as I made my own way to this popular attraction instead of taking a tour. I used a public bus to get to Chiang Saen on the Mekong River, where I stupidly spent the middle of the day exploring the ancient ruins of the city by foot. Hot and bothered, I eventually caught the regular songtheaw (pick up truck) that runs to the Golden Triangle.
This photo is of a huge Golden Buddha statue located on the Thailand side of the Golden Triangle. Really, the whole thing is done up completely for the tourists, and from what I could see, these were mainly Thai tourists. I spent the afternoon looking around and climbing up to the view point that looks over to Myanmar (Burma) and Laos, which was great to see, but I could have really just stayed in Chiang Saen instead.
To get back to Chiang Saen I had to end up getting a ride on the back of a motor bike before catching the last bus out of town back to Chiang Rai, so really, the whole adventure and experience was worth the trip.
The Golden Triangle is worth visiting if it is included in a tour to some of the other interesting places in the region, but otherwise I wouldn’t bother. It was just a little too touristy for me.
Have you been to the Golden Triangle? What did you think?