Recently, my wife and I visited the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos meet. Hill tribes and farmers from this area used to produce the world’s largest supply of heroin and opium. But the poppies are gone for the most part, especially in Thai territory. They’ve been replaced by tobacco, tea, coffee, and pineapples.
We gazed at the countryside from our perch at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. The hotel has 15 luxury tents spaced out along a ridge overlooking the hills of northern Thailand and the Burmese countryside.
Guests who come here often use hyperbole and superlatives to describe this place:
"It’s beautiful here," said Claudia from Munich. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip."
"This is quite the spot," concluded Chris from Toronto.
"Que c’est beau ici," remarked Judith from Strausbourg. "What a wonderful place. I am happy to be here."
So were we. Over three days, my wife and I took a boat along the Mekong River to visit a market on the Laotian island of Done Xao (snake whiskey anyone?); a monk blessed us at Wat Chedi Luang, a 13th century Buddhist Temple in northern Thailand; we wandered through a wet market in the Thai town of Chiang Saen (lettuce, tomatoes, live frogs, ant eggs); we went across the border into Burma to see a replica of Yangon’s golden pagoda in the city of Tachliek; and we spent a morning riding elephants.
Oh…and I played a game of elephant polo. More on that in my next post. An article on my experience in the Golden Triangle will be published soon in the Globe and Mail’s travel section.