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Home Thailand The Golden Triangle ⇒ Golden Triangle River Excursions

Thailand’s Golden Triangle

3Golden Triangle River Excursions

The New Golden Buddha
The New Golden Buddha

For the visitor there is a choice of boat trips. You can cruise down river to Chiang Saen, seven kilometres away, or take shorter rides along the river. For the thrill seeker, speedboats will whisk you upstream to view the Golden Triangle casino at the confluence of the Nam Ruak and then across the river to the Lao island of Donsao where you can land.

The island is very poor and covered in flame trees. Towards the end of the dry season in April these are covered in bright red flowers. Thai folklore says that these trees are also to be found in hell and so any area that has many growing is considered unlucky, hell on earth in fact. This is certainly a poor area and when the trees are bare looks very uninviting. On my first visit, we were tagged by hoards of tatty, smut-faced children begging for a hand out but this year the children had disappeared but little else had changed.

There isn’t a lot to see or do; you just come for the experience, browse a few stalls selling souvenirs, drink a Beerlao, and leave. You don’t need a visa or passport to visit, but an immigration officer at the boat landing on the Laos side will ask for a 20 baht fee. If you feel like stocking up on some duty free, maybe a bottle of viper wine, this is the place to do it.

When the river is high you can take a two-day boat trip upstream to Jinghong in China but this needs to be arranged in advance. Most travel agents in Chiang Rai can arrange boats and visas for you.

 
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