Have you ever wanted to be in 3 countries in one day? With this trip, not only do you get to visit one of Asia’s main opium producing areas, you also get to take a boat trip down the Mekong from Thailand to Laos, then walk across the border from Thailand to Myanmar. On my third day in Chiang Mai, I booked an amazing personal tour to see the Golden Triangle. It seemed like a fun-packed tour, and it covered what I ultimately wanted to see — the Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai. There was no easy way to see the beautiful white temple from the center of Chiang Mai, and with the itinerary that this tour provided, this seemed like a no-brainer. Be prepared for an extremely long day (ending from 9-10pm). How else would you fit the schedule in a day? (Extremely long post ahead)
Fun Fact: The Golden Triangle was one of Asia's main opium producing areas.
Tour Itinerary - Golden Triangle & Chiang Rai
Golden Triangle & Chiang Rai Tour (with option to see the Long Neck & cross to Myanmar)
-7:30am Pick up from your hotel
-Stop at Mae Kha Jan Hot Springs
-Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)
-Baan Dam (Black House Museum)
-Visit to the Karen Long Neck tribe
-Chiang Saen boat trip on the Mekong to Laos
-Golden Triangle view
-Mae Sai border market
-Cross to Myanmar (500 Baht for border visa)
-Tricycle tour around the temples of Myanmar
-Back to hotel
A stop at Mae Kha Jan Hot Springs
Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)
Truly a majestic work of art. Not only is the bridge of “the cycle of rebirth” eerie, yet fascinating to look at, the inside of the Ubosot building has such detailed murals, that are so fascinating and beautiful, and not to mention, bewildering.
Baan Dam (Black House Museum)
This place is total black house #goals. “Baan” meaning house, and “Dam”, black in Thai, is the work of Thawan Duchanee. Interiors of these 40 different uniquely crafted buildings are decorated with animal skin and bones, along with phallic structures. His work remains controversial and continues to provoke deep thought.
Karen Long Neck tribe
Visiting the Karen Long Neck tribe seems to have riled up plenty of Western media coverage and controversy, saying that their “captivity” makes this visit seem like giving patronage to a “human zoo.” Being an outsider, it seems easy to believe, but believing in ethical travels, I wanted to find out for myself. I wanted to talk to a few of the locals in the tribe, and find out how they really feel about their living situation. In talking to them, they seem happy, and they expressed that tourism helps them support themselves. They were originally refugees from Burma (Now Myanmar), escaping from war and violence, and sought refuge in Thailand. Returning to their homeland is really not an option, and staying in Thailand allows for them to retain their colorful traditions and spread awareness of their culture, all the while, making income from visits and support from tourists by selling their crafts. They were extremely friendly and welcoming, and were happy to interact with me. I can understand if people were to visit the village without any interaction with the locals, and simply just took photographs of their daily lives, that this visit would probably seem less meaningful.
Chiang Saen boat trip on the Mekong to Laos
The Crossover to Myanmar
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