Visit Myanmar and Explore the Golden Triangle
Mae Sai, the border town
Your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel in Chiang Rai for your Visit to Myanmar and Explore the Golden Triangle Tour. This trip is private, so we are very flexible. First, we will drive to the Thailand-Myanmar border at Mae Sai, about 60kms north of Chiang Rai. Mae Sai is the bustling border town on the Thai side, Tachilek, the Myanmar side. Here thousands of Thai, Burmese, and people of other nationalities cross the border back and forth every day. There is a typical border town atmosphere which is a lot of fun to observe. This is the only border crossing in North Thailand that is open for tourists.
You will visit Tachilek in Myanmar on a day pass. We will walk across the bridge of the Mae Sai River, which forms the border here. You will immediately notice the difference. In Myanmar, many men wear a traditional longyi. It is a sarong-like tube of fabric worn by both men and women. Please note that all are in the Burmese language, a beautiful alphabet that is very different from the Thai alphabet.
The Shwedagon Pagoda of Tachilek
We will explore Tachilek by local “tuk-tuk,” which is a motorcycle with a sidecar. It’s an ideal way to explore this exciting border town. You will visit the Temple of the Enrobed Elephant and the Thai Yai Temple, which is an excellent example of typical Burmese temple architecture. We will continue to Tachilek’s own Shwedagon Pagoda, a smaller copy of the original Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Before we return to Thailand, there will be time to visit the border market in Tachilek, a favorite destination for Thai visitors. We cross the border back to Thailand, where we will have a delicious lunch in a local restaurant.
The notorious Golden Triangle
After lunch, we will continue to the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar meet. Visit the Hall of Opium*, an excellent museum that tells the history of the use of opium, poppy cultivation, and the opium trade in the Golden Triangle. Throughout the 1960s to the early 1990s, the area of the Golden Triangle supplied most of the world’s heroin. In the past, this area was a lawless battleground of drug lords and various armed groups. Most visitors spend between one and a half and two hours at this amazing museum. It is an interactive and educational museum, one of the best in Thailand. The Hall of Opium is a project of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation.
The Golden Triangle Park
The spot on the Mekong River where the borders meet has become a popular attraction. Before we drive back to Chiang Rai, we will stop here briefly. The Golden Triangle Park features a big Buddha statue, statues of elephants, a Golden Triangle marker, and many souvenir stalls. For us, the highlight is the Wat Phra That Phu Khao, a very interesting and historically significant temple from where you have a magnificent view over the Golden Triangle. We can drive up or you can take the Naga staircase, which we recommend, as it adds to the experience.
It is time to go back. In Chiang Rai, we will drop you at your hotel. It is the end of your Visit Myanmar and Explore the Golden Triangle Tour.
For more things to do in Chiang Rai, have a look at this page. If you want to visit only the much smaller House of Opium museum, we can customize this tour. Please let us know. We have another day tour and a two-day/one-night tour to the Golden Triangle as well.
*Please note: the Hall of Opium is closed on Monday, so we don’t offer this tour on that day.