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Updated by Joanna James on Jan 07, 2020
Headline for Things to do in Golden Triangle – Discover culture, history and traditions
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to do in Golden Triangle – Discover culture, history and traditions

The former opium kingdom is now a major tourist destination; the Golden Triangle is the coming together of Thai, Laos and Burmese cultures where you can uncover traditions, history and wildlife.


Visit the craft centres

Crafting is a source of income in the region. You can see many craft centres dispersed over the area that employ hundreds of locals. You can visit one of these places, and buy something to remind yourself of the trip. One such place is Doi Tung Cottage Industries Centre – there are about 300 employees producing handmade items which include ceramics and mulberry paper.


Explore the villages

One of the oldest towns in Chiang Rai province is Chiang Saen which is situated on the bank of the Mekong River. Visiting this village gives you the opportunity to explore the bygone times of the Lanna Kingdom. There is nothing left of the kingdom but ruins of temples, moats and walls. While you are out exploring, make sure you make time for a visit to the Chiang Rai National Museum. The region is also home to many Chiang Saen hotels; especially the likes of Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.


See elephants

Thailand is home to many elephants; they are also revered by the locals due to the historical and cultural significance they denote. You can ride through the jungle on one of the elephants, but before you do so, make sure you enrol yourself on one of the training programmes: these programmes will teach you how to communicate with elephants and how to care for them. If you feel like doing something more, you can register yourself with the Elephant Research Programme; you can participate in research programmes conducted by the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.


A long-tail boat ride

Find yourself a boat ride down the Ruak River, which cuts through Burma and Thailand. You'll discover the local way of life on both banks of the river. You'll also be in close quarters with wildlife – the river is the bathing spot for baby elephants.



You can take a boat ride to Hot Springs and Houi Mak Leim National Park – here, you can hike through the jungle and encounter a variety of hill tribes. Before heading out to the hot springs, you can learn a bit about native people and enjoy a cup of local tea; you can also be witness to traditional ceremonies: these ceremonies are a novel and refreshing experience. You can then head off for the hot springs: the warm water of these springs are known to soothe sore muscles.


Journey through Burma

You can take a cultural trip to Burma – visit Scorpion Temple in Mae Sai where you will be privy to the most amazing views of the region, then you can cross the border of Thailand through a walking bridge which is the gateway to the Burmese town of Takilek – while in the town, you can go to the food market where you can sample a plethora of local delights. You can take the journey to Township Dhammayon where you will learn a bit about Buddhist traditions. If you can spare more time, go to the Shwedagon Pagoda: make an offering and enjoy the mountainous landscape.


Stay at the Tented Camp

At the Tented Camp, you'll have your hands filled with activities; however, you should make sure that you make time for a little inactivity – you can relax by the pool or spend some time inside the tent with wine and cheese for company. Later, you can indulge yourself with a hot bath and end the day with a cup of hot chocolate.