The Golden Triangle Chiang Rai, is a region located in the very northern part of Thailand. In this area, the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Mekong and Ruak Rivers. It holds a historical and cultural significance that extends far beyond its stunning natural beauty. Long ago, it used to be a center for opium production and trade, however it has transformed into a captivating destination with diverse ethnic communities, rich cultural tapestry, and an abundance of outdoor adventures. This article is a full travel guide for the golden triangle Chiang Rai where we will list the best things to do, the best places to stay and other important information as well.
The Golden Triangle Location from nearby cities
The Golden triangle is located around 1 hour drive from Chiang Rai City
Things to do in the Golden triangle Chiang Rai
Longtail boat in the mekong river
Taking a longtail boat in the Mekong river for a couple of hours is a great experience. Imaging the feeling of cruising while having from one side Laos, and from the other side Thailand. You will be able to see the difference between the living standard between both sides and see the local villages in both laos and Thailand while enjoying cruising. It’s recommended to take this longtail boat for at least 1 hour to be able to explore most of the highlights of the region from the boat.
Golden triangle view Point
The viewpoint at the Golden Triangle Park offers a breathtaking panorama where both the Mekong and Ruak rivers meet and you will be able to see the 3 Countries from this Pooint: Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. The Golden Triangle is marked by a large monument, often adorned with flags from the three countries. It serves as a symbol of the region’s unity and cooperation.
The House of Opium
The Golden Triangle was historically famous for opium cultivation, with Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand being major producers (Used to be the world’s largest opium producers). Opium farming was a significant source of income for many local communities in this area. Opium produced in this region was trafficked to international markets through various smuggling routes, however, after many government efforts, this trade disappeared and the government started to create other sources of income for these local communities to survive including farming and tourism.
The House of Opium highlights the Thai government’s efforts to combat opium production and trafficking. It also features informative exhibits, presentations, and artifacts related to opium production, including opium-processing tools and others. It has become lately a popular tourist attraction for tourists visiting the Chiang Rai region.
Chiang Saen District
Chiang Saen is one of the oldest districts in Thailand, with a history dating back to the 7th century. It was the first capital of the Lanna Kingdom, which used to be an important regional kingdom in Southeast Asia. The district is home to ancient temples and ruins, including Wat Phra That Chedi Luang, which houses a 14th-century stupa.
Chiang Saen retains a strong connection to Lanna culture, which is characterized by unique art, music, dance, and traditions that have been passed down through generations. You should not miss visiting this historical district when going to the Golden triangle in Chiang Rai.
How long to Stay at the Golden Triangle Chiang Rai
There are 2 options available for visiting the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai. The First option is for a one day visit in case you will be staying in Chiang Rai City. You can go for a private guided one day tour to visit the Golden Triangle Park, take a private longtail boat in the Mekong river, Visit the Opium Museum, and Pass by the historical Chiang Saen district. The day trip lasts for about 8 to 9 hours and it’s a great way to explore the region’s main highlights in just one day without the need for overnight stay.
The other option is to stay for several days to explore further and embark in additional activities in this amazing region. This region is famous for its luxurious accommodation options allowing guests to enjoy a one of a kind stay combined with several in resort activities while surrounded by green forests and breathtaking nature.
Where to stay at the Golden triangle Chiang Rai
The Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai is home to few of the most luxurious hotels in Thailand and southeast Asia. Including the Golden triangle in your itinerary for at least a couple of nights is a great way to experience a different side of Thailand in luxury and style. Below are the best and most recommended hotels to stay when traveling to the Golden triangle:
Anantara The Golden triangle
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is Located within the breathtaking landscapes of Chiang Rai’s Golden Triangle. This amazing resort offers a unique and immersive experience, combining opulent accommodations with the rich cultural tapestry of the region. The rooms at this resort feature an incredible view of three countries where the borders meet.
It also hosts the famous Elephant Camp, providing the opportunity for guests to interact with these gentle giants in an ethical and educational setting without the need of going out of the resort. In addition, guests can also join an educational cooking class to learn how to cook the famous and most delicious Thai dishes under the Guidance of professional chefs.
The Jungle Bubble at Anantara Golden Triangle resort
Another amazing experience at this resort is the Jungle bubble stay which allows the guests to enjoy a luxurious stay in the middle of the jungle while surrounded by nature and elephants moving around in their natural habitat.
The four Seasons tented Camp
Classified as one of the best and most luxurious tented resorts in Thailand, The four seasons Tented camp at the Golden triangle offers a unique accommodation experience for its guests.
Similar to Anantara the Golden triangle, The Four season is renowned for its Elephant Camp, which provides guests with the opportunity to connect with elephants ethically and learn about their care, rehabilitation, and conservation efforts.
Another unique experience at this amazing resort is the Open Air Spa. The camp has an open-air spa where guests can indulge in rejuvenating treatments amidst the tranquil sounds of the jungle.