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• Site Around City
 • Golden Triangle • Mae Kok River • Chiang Saen Lake • Doi Tung • Doi Pha Tang • Phu Chee Fah • Wiang Kalong • Hilltribe Museum and Education Center • Ho Watthanatham Nithat • King Mengrai Memorials • Oub Kham Museum • Rai Mae Fah Luang • Wat Doi Thong • Wat Phra Chao Lan Thong • Wat Phra Kaeo • Wat Phra Sing • Wat Rong Khun • Wat Klang Wiang • Chiang Saen National Museum • Wat Phra That Chedi Luang • Wat Pa Sak • Wat Phra That Chom Kitti • Wat Phra That Pha-Ngao • Chiang Sean Hall of Opium • King Mengrai Festival • Lychee Fair • Songkran Festival • Elephant Camp & Karen Village • Baan Haad Klai • Mekong River Trips • Hilltribe Development & Welfare Centre • Pamee Akha Village • Doi Hua Mae Kham • Laan Tong Mekong Basin Cultural Park • Nam Tok Khun Kon Forest Park • Doi Mae Salong • Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park • Doi Luang National Park • Khun Chae National Park
Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle about 9km north of Chiang Saen Town, usually refers to the vast area of three countries - Laos, Myanmar and Thailand - where opium has been grown, processed to heroin and smuggled out.

The opium production has been illegal in Thailand since 1959. Thanks to a highly successful crop substitution program undertaken by the Royal Projects Foundation established by His Majesty King Bhumipol, opium production has largely been eliminated in Thailand. However, across the border in Burma, the Shan United Army, which is fighting the central Burmese government for an independent Shan state, has been accused of funding its war through the sale of opium and heroin.

Many tourists flock to the Golden Triangle region of Thailand expecting some sort of 'wild west' scene. They are certainly disappointed. The Thai area of the former triangle is full of small quiet villages where the most exciting thing that happens is the arrival of the next tour bus.

The area is full of beautiful natural scenery and ancient temples, so it isn't like its not worth a visit. Just go with the proper expectations. In fact, the area is proving quite popular for those that want something different, away from the beach scene. To serve them, a number of hotels and resorts have been built in the area, some of them quite luxurious.

The typical sights on a golden triangle tour are the town of Mai Sai, where you can even cross into Burma for some shopping; the small village of Sop Ruak, where the Ruak and Mekhong rivers meet, forming the borders of three countries; and finally the ancient city of Chiang Saen. A recently completed giant golden Buddha sits facing downriver and is going to be a magnet for Thai tourists. Across the Mekong River are the low hills of Laos. Boating on the river in long-tailed speed-boats costs 400-500 Baht per boat, zooming along a fixed circuit. There is also a small Opium Museum telling the history and production process of opium which once made this place wealthy and exceedingly dangerous. Today the threat is from little boys and girls in native dress at the Golden Triangle monument wanting to pose for photos for and with you — for a small gratuity. In the distance on Burmese soil is the Golden Triangle Paradise Hotel with a casino as its main attraction. On Thai soil is the luxurious Anantara Resort & Spa, without a casino but with stupendous views of the Mekong River and Laos.

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