This past weekend I went on a meditation retreat in the very north of Thailand, close to the Thai city of Chiang Rai (The retreat deserves a post of its own.). Between the chanting and the meditation, we did have time to do a bit of sightseeing, and we were treated to some awesome views of South East Asia’s Golden Triangle. For this Travel Photo Thursday (#210/January, 15, 2015) here are some of the shots that I took that day from one of the viewpoints overlooking the Golden Triangle from the Thailand side.
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The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is where the borders of Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand meet, and the Mekong River meets the Ruak. The official Thai name is Saam Liam Thong Kham. However, to the locals, it is simply known as Sop Ruak. Historically the area is known as being one of the largest producers of opium in the world. However, these days, about the only thing that is being cultivated (at least officially) is the tourist trade, and the casinos. Although gambling is illegal in Thailand, the Thais flock to the casinos; one in Myanmar and one in Laos. Small boats ferry the passengers to the casino of their choice.
Looking at the Myanmar border. The red roof marks the casino complex.
You’re looking at Laos. You can probably guess what the building is with the golden dome. Apparently, this casino is owned by a rich Chinese business man. Many years ago I took a tour from Chiang Mai, and part of the tour included taking a boat to Laos where you could shop in a tourist village, and mail a postcard with a Laos postmark. Tacky, yes, but, being my first time to the area, it was a little novel.
One final shot of this picturesque area…
If you are in Chiang Mai and want to visit the Golden Triangle, there are many tours available. Just go to one of the many tour operators dotting the streets in the old city. A day tour will cost you about $30.00US and will include other local attractions such as the Opium Museum and the White Temple. The person who sells you your ticket will know the exact itinerary. Lunch is generally included.
Have you been to the Golden Triangle? What did you think?
This is the 210th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.
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