Golden triangle (Thailand)
The famous Golden triangle is the area at the junction of the borders of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos. The area is geographically quite large (950 000 square km) and includes not only the junction of the borders, but also mountain areas around it. The centre and place that in the majority of cases visited by tourists, is the junction of the boundaries and the confluence of the Mekong and Ruak (Ruak). Here, in Thailand, is the village of Sop Ruak.
It is believed that the Golden triangle is the most famous "tourist trap" of Thailand, i.e. a place that is very known and popular among tourists, but to watch and do nothing special. It's really, in some way, so. Still there are tourists who go to the North of Thailand just for visiting the Golden triangle under the impression about the interesting past of this place. And leave it out completely disappointed because from that story there was nothing left to do and there is nothing special. But it is quite another thing if you come to Northern Thailand to visit Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Mae Hong son-a dream to make a trip to the mountains, to get through the jungle to the exotic tribes, rafting down the North river, to get acquainted with temple architecture of the Lanna Kingdom and much more. In this case, a visit to the Golden triangle would be a great addition to your route North.
Well, should say that the heart of the Golden triangle is not in place, and fueled a large number of tourists is increasing gradually. There already appeared a good restaurants, some entertainment for tourists, comfortable hotels. And it may well be that in the near future this place will be the most famous "tourist trap", but a real tourist area, where visitors can not only watch a few minutes, but it is nice to spend a few days.
If you want, directly in the heart of the Golden triangle you can stay for a few days, staying at a hotel. Hotels in the heart of the Golden triangle abound, and you can get all the required information, read reviews, see the position of the accommodation on the map and book one of them through the search of hotels below.
Hotels Golden triangle refers to the city of Chiang Saen (Chiang Saen), which is a few kilometers from the center. Using the map in the search results, you can choose a hotel in the centre of the triangle, or some distance away in the town of Chiang Saen.
Find and book a hotel in Chiang Rai is one of the most popular search engines for hotels in Asia Agoda.com can through the search form. Russian interface and Russian-speaking customer support is present:
A little history of the Golden triangle
The Golden triangle is known that in the not too distant past there was "the opium Paradise". Here, on the territory of all three countries, large quantities of cultivated opium. Tell the story that on the river there is an island that appears and then disappears under the water, depending on its level in the river. Smugglers used this island in order to conclude the transaction and share illegally grown product, because it (the Islands) would not exist, and he did not belong to any one of the three States. It's true or not, you may be able to find out, when you yourself have been there.
In the late 20th century, the government of Thailand strongly took up the fight against the production and the drug cultivation on their territory. And the struggle is continuing quite successfully. Of course, to talk about the complete victory is still premature. Because there are still vast areas and whole factory in the border areas of Myanmar and Laos, is still rampant smuggling. But, in General, from the earlier drug of the rich historical past of the Golden triangle of Thailand remained just a story and a couple of opium museums.
How to get to Golden triangle?
The easiest way to visit the Golden triangle – along with a group tour. As we mentioned above, to explore the Golden triangle from Bangkok, Pattaya and other cities in Northern Thailand for thousands of kilometres is not worth it. But from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai to visit the center of the triangle in the group stage. From Chiang Mai there are one - and two-day tours in Chiang Mai province with a visit to the heart of the Golden triangle. The most popular day tour from Chiang Mai with a visit to the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle, hot spring villages and tribes costs about 1000 baht (currency of Thailand). This cost does not include the boat trip across the river to Laos island, but you can pay on the spot.
You can also get to the heart of the Golden triangle on the buses themselves, but have to do it with transfers. Regular communication in the form of the Songthaew taxis connects the heart of the Golden triangle with the city of Mae SAI (Mae Sai) and Chiang Saen (Chiang Saen).
From Mae SAI Songthaew depart approximately every 40 minutes from 8:00 to 13:00 and are 45 baht. Shipping is done from the center of the city, near the border crossing to Myanmar.
From Chiang Saen Songthaew depart every 20 minutes from 7:00 to 12:00 and cost 20 baht. After 12 and 13 hours and can be reached by tuk-tuk or motorcycle taxi. Up to Mae SAI and Chiang Saen, in turn, can be reached by regular buses from Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and other cities in the North of Thailand. Schedule of buses from Chiang Mai here http://www.1stopchiangmai.com/from Chiang Rai here http://www.tourismchiangrai.com/ (website not open on the territory of the Russian Federation, and it is better to access via proxy or Tor browser).
The movement of the buses looks like, though little costly in terms of money, but ineffective over time. To save time, it is better to hire a tuk-tuk or taxi in Chiang Rai for a day and travel around the main attractions of the province.
Well, the most convenient way to visit the Golden triangle is leased vehicles. Drive to the Golden triangle you can on highway 1 through Mae SAI or Chiang Saen. The road through Mae SAI a little longer, but you can make a small detour attractions Mae SAI (possibly overnight) and come back via Chiang Saen. Both roads are in very good condition, everywhere there are signs.
What to see in Golden triangle?
The range of activities in the Golden triangle is not very diverse. If you are staying at one of the hotels of the Golden triangle to stay, you can spend time sunbathing by the pool and strolling on the village green. Entertainment here. Tourists visiting the Golden triangle travel independently or tour often follow the standard route: visit one of two museums of opium; photographing the confluence of the rivers from the point in the temple of Wat Prathat Pukhao; hour boat cruise on the Mekong with visit to Lao island. These places of "entertainment" visiting the Golden triangle usually ends.
The Lao island of Don Sao
To visit the Lao island of Don Sao, this is probably the most interesting things to do in the heart of the Golden triangle. To get to the island is by boat along the Mekong river, while you still get a small river cruise with a tour of the coastal beauties (although too much from these beauties don't expect). Access to the island is carried out without a visa for all tourists without exception, for a nominal fee of 20 baht.
On the island good: there is a market of the many shops where you can buy affordable goods and Souvenirs from Laos (selling a lot of leather handbags, traditional tourist Souvenirs, bottle with the snake on alcohol, Lao banknotes, etc.); from the post office on the island you can send home a postcard from Laos (60 baht for stamp + 10 baht card); you can buy beer Lao. Tourists usually walk a little market to buy Souvenirs and go home, especially as the standard boat limits the presence on the island is 60 minutes. Although, of course, you can always negotiate with the boatman for a longer time for an additional fee.
Boats to the island leave from piers near the opium Museum (House of Opium) and Buddha on the boat. The cost of one and a half hour tour is 400 baht per boat (price is not fixed you can bargain). Please note that the cost taken for the boat, not per person. If you come here as part of an organized tour group, your guide can offer you this fun for 400 baht per person. If you do not wish to pay the guide for his brilliant organizational skills, can safely withdraw and take a boat for 4-5 people for the same 400 baht.
The routes of the boats is also pretty standard: you will be the casino on the shore to the hotel, you will pass by "Buddha in a boat", and then walk around the island. But even with such a modest program, a boat trip not to be missed. It's no wonder you have come this far.
The hall of opium Hall of Opium
The opium Museum is the world's largest thematic Museum of opium, and probably one of the most interesting museums in Thailand. Modern constructed the exhibition of the Museum shows the history of opium, demonstrates the process of production, use and consequences of taking the drug. It even has its own small opium plantation. The exposure is made with the use of modern multimedia technologies and the designs of the founders is not only entertaining, but also informative and edifying character. If you have an hour or two of extra time, you should definitely visit this place.
There is a Museum near the center of the Golden triangle (the hall of opium Hall of Opium on the map). Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 to 16:00. Entrance fee is 200 baht.
The hall of opium House of Opium
Another small hall of opium is located right in the heart of the Golden triangle (opium Museum House of Opium on the map). This Museum is private and he's modest Museum, Hall of Opium, but the same objectives and displays the same. If you failed to get into the Hall of Opium because of the time of work or high cost, you can go boldly here, especially because the cost of admission is only 50 baht, and it works daily from 7 am to 7 PM. In addition to exhibits related to the history of opium in these places, on the second floor you can see the exhibition dedicated to the life of local tribes. The website of the Museum www.houseofopium.com
The Giant Buddha (Phra Chiang Saen Si Phaendin)
Close to the opium Museum (House of Opium) and the pier of the boats cruising on the Laotian island on the banks of the Mekong river is the giant statue of the happy or laughing Buddha (giant Buddha on the map). Most likely, he is happy, considering what treasure ship he sails :-). If you go on a boat cruise, you will be able to take a picture of the Buddha from the river.
Overall, this place is quite interesting and funny. You can go on a boat to see the Buddha from all sides, but other than that the boat is more "attractions" to collect donations. For example, you can throw a coin down a long chute that leads to the happy Buddha's belly, and when the coin hits him in the stomach, it's fun to laugh and thank you. Or you can donate to bill and hung it on the money tree to your sign in the Chinese horoscope. And in front of the boat don't forget to RUB for good luck a large metal Gong.
Wat Prathat Pukhao (also Wat Phra That Doi Pu Khao) and observation deck
This temple is located on the hill. Known and popular this place is the fact that on top of the hill is an observation deck with bark offers the best views of the heart of the Golden triangle – the confluence of three boundaries and rivers. This site itself is designated as the heart of the Golden triangle, and to some extent it's true: no one visiting these places does not happen without photographing out. The truth is to say that the view is not stunning. Green mountain ranges are far away and usually hidden in the haze, and yellow water rivers, the Mekong and the desert island is quite dull. Tourists with excursions bring to the platform directly on the bus, so walking upstairs to get not have to. In retail shops at the site of brisk trade of Souvenirs with symbols of the Golden triangle, a few at inflated prices.
Unfortunately, groups often carrying tourists past the old temple, which is located about midway on the ascent of the hill. The place is quite interesting and with long historical roots (the Church dates back to 1302 and according to some estimates as many as 759 a year). The building of the temple looks very ancient and mysterious. Entrance women in he forbidden, but they can view it from the outside.
At the very top, where there is an observation deck, is still a few ancient ruins. Tourists seldom go there, too, but in vain. Still there is a small cemetery in which are buried the Japanese soldiers since the second world war.
Climb to the platform and to the temple easily by foot, mountain is not so high. Wat Prathat Pukhao on the map