Golden Triangle Halal Travel Guide
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The Golden Triangle (สามเหลี่ยมทองคำ Saam Liam Thong Kham) is in Chiang Rai Province, in the far north of Thailand. The English name comes from the meeting of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand here, but to the locals it’s Sop Ruak, since this is where the Mekong meets the Ruak River.
Historically the Golden Triangle has been an area well-known for the growing of opium, and the name comes from a US State Department memo on the practice. These days, though, the place lives on the cultivation of tourists, and this is undoubtedly the largest tourist trap in northern Thailand.
The landscape is hilly, divided by the Ruak River that flows into the Mekong (Mae Khong) River. These rivers form a natural boundary between the three countries Laos (to the east of the Mekong), Myanmar (to the north of the Ruak), and Thailand (to the west of the Mae Khong).
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, 40 Thai Baht) to Chiang Saen (15 min, 20 Thai Baht) and back again every 20 minutes or so until around 15:00. If you miss the last songthaew, you will be at the mercy of the tuk-tuk and motorcycle taxi drivers who will charge around 70 Thai Baht for the 10 km trip from the Golden Triangle to Chiang Saen.
Boats can be hired to view scenery around the golden triangle from Sop Ruak along the Mekong River to Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong which takes around 40 minutes and one and a half hours respectively.