Attraction Imperial Golden Triangle resort 222 Golden Triangle ตำบล เวียง อำเภอ เชียงแสน เชียงราย 57150, Thailand Published on: 08-06-2016
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Why Golden Triangle - Chiang Rai is special ?
Don't miss a chance to visit the famous Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet! An early morning drive through beautiful scenery, with a stop at the Hot Springs at Maekajan, culminates in the chance to explore this world -famous spot, notorious for its opium trade!
What to explore at Golden Triangle - Chiang Rai?
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 (พระธาตุดอยปูเข้า) 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.
The valley of the Hall of Opium
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. There's even a tiny opium plantation inside! The Hall describes itself as "edutainment", and indeed this is something of an opium theme park, with the latest in snazzy multimedia exhibits and lots of subtle hectoring about the evils of addiction. To their credit, though, they don't whitewash Thailand's own history at all and even the CIA's exploits are covered in detail. Popular with tour groups and school children. Run by the royal Doi Tung Foundation, with profits going to charity. 200/150 baht foreigner/Thai.
House of Opium, 212 Moo.1, Ban Sop Ruak, Tambon Wian. 7 AM-7 PM. 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
How to get to Golden Triangle - Chiang Rai?
Most people seem to come here on guided bus tours. For independent travellers, blue songthaews run through the Golden Triangle from Mae Sai (45 min, 50 baht) to Chiang Saen (15 min, 20 baht) and back again every 20 minutes or so 08:00 - 12:00. Greenbus minivans run from Chiang Rai Bus Terminal (50B) to Mae Chan, Chiang Saen and Golden Triangle (early morning - 17:00). At The Golden Triangle the Greenbus minivan bus stop is in front of the restaurant which is next to the entry road of the parking lot behind the Big Buddha statue (diagonally opposite Wat gate). There may be traffic guards at the road entrance who can show you where the stop is (it is not marked). It runs every 30-60 minutes (trip can take up to 2 hours to Chiang Rai). If you miss the last songthaew/bus, you will be at the mercy of the tuk-tuk and motorcycle taxi drivers that will charge around 70 baht for the 10km trip from the Golden Triangle to Chiang Saen. Check the tourist information booth for the latest information (it is located approx 100m NNW of Big Buddha statue [towards Mae Sai]).
- Three Countries at Once
- Interesting geographical area
- Great view from the top
- A triangle for three countries
- A breath taking view
Imperial Golden Triangle resort 222 Golden Triangle ตำบล เวียง อำเภอ เชียงแสน เชียงราย 57150, Thailand
Tips for you
We took the Golden Triangle Tour as a part of a full day Chiang Rai tour and it was one of the reasons we came up to the area. We're gald we did. After obtaining our tickets (and our permit? to visit Laos) on the boat to cross the mighty Mekong, we took a short cruise to 'no man's land', a small island where the once flourishing opium trade occured quite legally and then to the free economic trade zone in Laos which contained the very cheap markets (some are fixed price, some you have to bargain). Our guide explained in detail the history of the area and the importance of the very busy Mekong River and this point where the three countries meet (the river is navigable through to China). After a further short trip on this magnificient river, we came back to the village to continue our tour up to the northern most point of Thailand. All in all, a good trip.