The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is the area where the borders of Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma) meet. It is northeast of the city of Chiang Rai and part of Chiang Rai province. This was a major opium-growing area in Southeast Asia. In the 1970s and 80s, it was a lawless area controlled by opium warlords.
Nowadays it is a major tourist attraction with many things to do and see. People come to visit the scenic spot where the borders converge, which is on the Mekong River. You can have your picture taken in front of a marker with the text “Golden Triangle”. There are souvenir shops, restaurants, and a Buddha statue in a boat-like structure.
It is possible to make a short boat ride to Don Sao, an island in the Mekong River that is Laotian territory. We recommend taking a boat ride to Chiang Saen instead.
The Hall of Opium is an excellent museum, one of the best in Thailand. It tells the story of the history of mankind and opium. The much smaller House of Opium is a good alternative if you are short on time.
Close to the Golden Triangle are the ruins of old Chiang Saen, which once was an important city in northern Thailand. Ruined temples such as Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Pa Sak are worth a visit. Chiang Saen is a nice, small-town with great views of the “Mighty Mekong”.