The Golden Triangle conjures up mystery in an exotic paradise. Named as such because at this particular point in the far north of Thailand this is the spot where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand merge bordered by the Mekong and Ruak Rivers that has served as a major trading spot for about a thousand years or more. Just a little further up the Mekong is the Yunnan Province of China.
For a long time, the trade that flourished in this Golden Triangle was illicit but very profitable. The area had pirates, shady traders, small private armies and thugs. That illicit trade was in Opium which grows very well in the warm mountains of Southeast Asia. While it brought a lot of riches to the area, it also brought unsavory characters, but that helped make the Golden Triangle a place of legends and violence. Today, most (but not all) of the opium trade is gone but the romance of the region stays with it.
The Golden Triangle is not so far from the City of Chiang Mai, a trip that I do often and jump at every chance to revisit. I find the Golden Triangle area to be amongst the most naturally beautiful parts of Thailand, and worthy for visitors to Chiang Mai to make this full day trip I recently had a couple of Californians visiting me in Chiang Mai and it gave me another opportunity to travel there.