Thailand – Getting to know the Golden Triangle

This is the corner of Asia where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos collide; an area of breathtaking natural beauty, peaceful temples, remote villages, and a way of life that often appears untouched by the modern world. A visit to the Golden Triangle is to journey into a world that is steeped in culture, and wonderfully bound-up in centuries of heritage and tradition.

A holiday in Thailand’s Golden Triangle region is perfect for anyone wanting more from Thailand than its renowned beaches and captivating capital; for the traveller who wants to explore areas still largely untouched, where crowds are rare.

What to do in Thailand’s Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle region is home to numerous minority tribes (such as the Karen, Akha and Lisu) and time spent meeting these colourful and graceful people, for whom centuries of tradition is ingrained in just about every aspect of daily life, is one of the great draws of visiting the region.

While Chiang Rai is a great city to explore, you’ll probably want to escape the crowds that gather there. One of the best ways to do this is to visit towns such as Nan and Fang – close to the borders of Laos and Myanmar respectively, where foreigners still remain something of a novelty.

This area is rich in pristine national parks, providing great opportunities for a spot of trekking or mountain biking, stopping (often) to be truly wowed by the natural beauty of the Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle region is home to an Asian elephant population and there are responsible and rewarding opportunities to learn about this endangered species, and the mahout who care for them. Details of our policies on elephant tourism can be seen here.

Getting off the trail

From Wat Tham Pa Acha Thong (‘Golden Horse Monastery’) monks spend days riding on horseback to receive alms at a hilltop temple and practising the martial art of Muay Thai. The monastery sits in an area typified by seasonal cherry blossom, tea and coffee plantations, and a co-operative store where homemade wines, medical herbs and other locally grown produce is sold.

At the most northerly border between Thailand and Myanmar, cross the Sai River into Thachileik and catch a glimpse of local village life. Take a rickshaw ride through lanes and small side streets, stopping off at Shan-style temples and morning markets fit to bursting with produce, along with goods from southern China as well as Laos and Myanmar.
Following lunch at the Golden Triangle, take to a long-tail boat on the mighty Mekong river.

In an area bursting with hill tribe community colour, visit villages where the Yao and Akha people live. Both originating from southern China and noted for their distinctive traditional dress, they inhabit an area that is also a gateway to the Mae Chan Valley and its wonderful panoramic views.

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Photos of Golden Triangle


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    • Matt
    • Asia Specialist
    • Laura
    • Asia Specialist and New Zealand Specialist
    • Emily
    • Thailand and Asia Specialist

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