…The Great Northern Road Trip 2020 : Day 11
The story starts HERE.
The Golden Triangle Park is at the intersection of Burma, Laos & Thailand, a region once known for opium production. There’s even a House of Opium Museum. I have no interest in drugs, so I ignored all of that.
Technically, in Thailand, the Golden Triangle is in a place called Chiang Saen, but I doubt many people know that. It’s much better known as the Golden Triangle. The meeting point of the three countries is actually in the middle of the mighty Mae Kong, the river better known in the west as the Mekong…
In my photos, and all the other photos I’d seen before going there, that fancy brass and chrome plate looks huge. It isn’t. In fact, I couldn’t find it. Luckily I had pictures on my iPad so I walked around asking people “Where the hell is this?” Eventually I found it by peering over a railing. It’s probably about 60cms long.
Anyhoo, it gives you an idea of what’s where. In the photo, Thailand is behind me, Burma is beyond the small river you can see on the left, and Laos is on the opposite bank of the Mae Kong.
I must confess that with Burma and Laos being less developed then Thailand, I didn’t expect to see much more than jungle. I was wrong.
The red building in Burma…
… is the Paradise Resort, and no doubt includes a casino. In non-Covid times, I’m sure it would be frequented by Thais, as almost all gambling is illegal in Thailand. It’s even illegal to own more than 120 playing cards, though how someone came up with that precise number is beyond me.
But the right bank in Laos was downright bustling…
This is the town of Van Pak Len, which no doubt also has its fair share of casinos. I briefly considered sending a drone across to get a better look, but that I’m sure would have created some kind of international incident!
Anyways, on the Thai side the buildings are mostly Buddhas, elephants, temples and shrines…
Now, since this is the last article in the road trip series where I will mention Burma, some of you may be wondering why I persist in using the name Burma rather than Myanmar. Well, I was in Yangon some years ago and from talking with local people I learned that they are happy to call the capital Yangon rather than Rangoon because that was its name from pre-colonial times. But they balk at calling the country Myanmar because – and I quote from Wikipedia – “Many political and ethnic opposition groups and countries continue to use Burma because they do not recognise the legitimacy of the ruling military government or its authority to rename the country.” If it works for them, it works for me. Aside from which, it’s been called Burma for most of my life.
Well, that was it for Day 11, and the end of my tour through the mountains of northern Thailand. I had a slow drive back to the city, and started preparing myself mentally for the three day drive back home.