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Visiting the Golden Triangle from Chiang Rai

Posted by jenny_v on 16/9/2011 at 23:30

Hi helpful people,

I was hoping someone can give me an advice on this one:

I am looking to visit the Golden Triangle from Chiang Rai .

1) What is the best way to get there (a) on your own (b) with a travel guide/tour company? What are the means of transportation between the Golden Triangle and Chiang Rai (bus)?

2) Is it better to visit the Golden Triangle during the day and spend the night in Chiang Rai or spend the night somewhere closer to the Golden Triangle?

3) What is the best way to actually visit the Golden Triangle once you are there? Take a boat trip or something else?

Thank you very much in advance!

#1 jenny_v has been a member since 16/9/2011. Posts: 6
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Posted by travellingsarah on 17/9/2011 at 18:12 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

I can't tell you about the best way to do it, I can tell you what we did, which might help. We hired a motorbike in Chiang Rai and drove up to Chiang Saen on Day 1. We stayed there overnight and the next day drove up to the Golden Triangle, wandered around and drove back to Chiang Rai. To be honest, I didn't think much of it. You can go and look at the place where the 3 countries join and there's a nice enough temple near there with a good view, and the museum was OK, but it's not like a 'wow'. I seem to remember you could take a boat trip up there from Chiang Saen. I guess it would be a nice boat trip. What do you want to get from your trip there?

#2 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 684
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Posted by exacto on 18/9/2011 at 06:24

Hi Jenny,

I did something similar to what sarah describes, which was first visit Chiang Saen and spend the night there, then hire a scooter for the ride up to the triangle area. From there we kept going all the way to Mae Sai and then back to Chiang Saen. It was a long but really fun day.

I agree with sarah that the Golden Triangle area itself was no great shakes. In fact, most of it was a tacky market selling tourist krap to package tourists. Worth a look if for nothing else than the views and your Christmas card photo, but don't plan on spending the entire day there.

I did think that Mae Sai was lots of fun and had that wild wild west feel to it. If it is still possible, you might consider popping across the border to Thachilek for a day in the twilight zone.

That general area is probably not the best spot to learn to ride a scooter, however, so if you aren't already good at it, you might consider taking a tour or hiring a driver for the day. Sorry I don't have any specific suggestions there, but once you get to Chiang Rai, check with your guest house or the local travel agents to see what options are available. I'll bet there is something that will fit your schedule and budget. Regards.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,759
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Posted by jenny_v on 19/9/2011 at 20:46

Hi sarah & mahout,

thank you for your advice!

You have made me reconsider. My initial plan was to visit Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle on the way to Laos (since I am flying to Bangkok from Europe and I read Huay Xai is a good place to enter Laos).

I think this time I will drop it and start directly from Laos and Luang Prabang.

Thank you once again!

Best regards,


#4 jenny_v has been a member since 16/9/2011. Posts: 6
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Posted by Captain_Bob on 20/9/2011 at 00:33

Entering Laos at Huay Xai is more of a logical route if you want to do a Mekong trip to Luang Prabang then the usual tourist route (Vang Vieng, Vientiane) without backtracking. I agree with the above assessment that the Golden Triangle is a tacky tourist trap but Chiang Saen and Mae Sai are fairly worthwhile.

#5 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,950

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