Short Tour of Thailand's Golden Triangle
Explore the lovely Lanna city of Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge. The region is legendary for its natural beauty, hill tribe people, and opium production. You will see spectacular vistas along the banks of the Mekong River.
Photos: Suradet Konopakarnsri, Yves Masure, Weeraphan Rattanakorn
Where Thailand, Laos and Burma Meet
This is the shortest of our two Golden Triangle itineraries
Day One: Explore Chiang Rai
On arrival in Chiang Rai you will enjoy the lush green carpet of mountain forests, emerald valleys, and electric green rice fields. Natural beauty and clean air invigorate the senses.
Wat Rongkhun, on the outskirts of Chiang Rai, is a stunning temple which is both modern and reflects Lanna (Northern Thai) style in pure white with mirror accents. If you are lucky, you might meet Chalermchai Kositpipat, the artist who created it.
Next, you will visit the Wat Pra Keaw, the former home of the Emerald Buddha now on display at the Grand palace in Bangkok. Later you will take a long tail boat on the Mae Kok River to Karieng Ruammit Village, where you will see a many different hill tribe people.
This evening, check Chiang Rai's Night bazaar, with a large outdoor food court and live entertainment. Our guide will be happy to introduce you to the local gay hang-outs nearby.
Day Two: Dip Your Toes in Myanmar
This morning you will visit stunning Royal Villa of the Princess Mother (Mother of current King), Doi Tung, which was her home until her death. The villa has some of the loveliest gardens in the Kingdom.
After lunch you drive to the border town of Mea Sai, where you may cross over into Myanmar (bring your passport!) to visit the Tachileik Market, where you can buy cheap goods from China as well as gems, jade and lacquer from Burma.
You will also see the famous Golden Triangle, at the confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Ruak rivers. From the banks on the Thai side of the Mekong you can see Laos, Myanmar. Next we visit the nearby Opium Museum, which give a history of the drug and the social consequences of its use. Overnight in the Golden Triangle.
Day Three: Along the Rambling Mekong
Today we will go to charming town of Chiang Saen, a former 14th century capital of the Kingdom of Lanna, where boats from China dock to unload goods. This quiet little town has grown up around the ancient city walls and red brick ruins, many in excellent shape. The ruins of Wat Pa Sakare in an impressive park setting of huge trees and moats. The chedi (stupa) at Wat Athi Ton Kaew has broken open to reveal a smaller, older stupa inside with its white stucco decoration preserved.
This afternoon, explore the border town near Chiang Khongpier once of the most popular border crossings to Laos. After that we head back to Chiang Rai or Chiang Rai Airport. You can continue to Chiang Mai if you like, but it's a long drive so a night in Chiang Rai is in order.
Prices and Hotels
Prices depend on your choice of hotel and when you want to travel.
We offer several hotel options for this package, ranging from three to five stars. If you have specific hotels in mind, please let us know. All of the hotels we use are carefully chosen for location, amenities, quality of service, security and value. We use only hotels that are LGBTQ-friendly.
To see prices and compare hotels please click on the "$" button on the left. If you have questions or suggestions about the hotels we use, please email us.
Custom Thailand vacations are our specialty. This itinerary is easy to customize it to make it a perfect fit for you. You should also consider our longer Golden Triangle itinerary