Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar have something common. It’s a real hell zone called the Golden Triangle. If you are visiting any of these countries, the Golden Triangle is an interesting object to see. If you do, you would have set a foot in the middle of where some part of the world’s evil comes from…
The story of the Golden Triangle
Golden Triangle is an area where 3 borders of Thailand, Laos or Myanmar meets with a Mekong river between them. You can take a boat in the river and experience having 3 different countries in one sight. Right in the middle of the river between the borders, there’s a small island which is the most special part of this story.
This island is a land that belongs to no country. It’s a no-man’s land where no legislation or rules apply.
This is the land where everything is legal, even murders, drug trade or any other bad or good deeds you can think of.
Because of that, it’s probably also wise to keep away from this island. However, if you are brave enough to go there, it sure is an exciting feeling.
Why is it called the Golden Triangle?
Unfortunately, locals are using this area very heavily for the opium trade. The name Golden Triangle was given to this place exactly because of the drug trade.
The mountains by the border area of Myanmar is the biggest opium producers as well as Thai and Laos border areas. Myanmar is currently the second biggest option producer in the world.
This region has been the main trade spot long back in history when boats would come to the island from all over the world and bring gold to trade it for opium.
So the name Golden triangle carries with the actions happening here.
The island itself is a little piece of land in the middle of the Mekong river. You can’t even suspect all the bad things happening there.
It’s covered with long grass and trees so you can’t clearly see what’s happening on it.
We took a boat and went close to the island to possibly witness something interesting.
Just in case you are wondering what we saw there, I will just say this – every day brings something new and unexpected.
In addition to the drug trade scene of this area, there are also few buildings on all 3 coasts. Buildings on Myanmar and Laos side are casinos where people can gamble after making their drug deals on the Golden Triangle island.
These two coasts are also a “happy place” or “paradise” for Thai people who can go there to gamble, as Casinos are illegal in Thailand.
If you would not be aware of these facts before visiting the point where 3 SouthEast Asian counties meet, it will seem like as quiet and peaceful raw nature area.
However, if you know what actually happens there, it will seem 100 times more exciting. You will pay more attention to small details all around and maybe see something you shouldn’t have seen.
Check out other awesome things to do in Thailand, by clicking HERE.
The other problem in the hills were all the different hill tribe armies, like the Karen fighting the Myanmar government national army, used to often cross the border into Northeast Thailand. Or the Thai army attacking a Mong opium farm.
Not sure how much of it happens now but a lot of it was quite lawless, a few baht to cross borders etc. Especially into Laos across the Mekhong at night from Nakhon Panom with Thai friends to gamble or buy things.
Honestly never heard of this place until now. It’s safe to say i’ll be checking it out at some point. Great post.
Thanks for the geographical and a bit of history lesson today! I didn’t know there was such an island that existed in this part of Mekong River. Since I’ve never been on a Mekong River cruise, I’d probably catch a glimpse of the Golden Triangle while I’m there!
I had no idea about the story behind the infamous Golden Triangle. It would be neat to see the three boarders all in one sight, but I would stay far from the island just in case. I am surprised on one country has tried to laid claim to the island yet. Interesting post.
I didn’t know they were still using the Golden Triangle area for the opium trade, how interesting. I’ll have to visit and pay attention to the details, see if I can see anything interesting going on. A photo with the Golden Triangle sign would be very Instagrammable!
I researched this area really well for my last visit to Thailand. I did not know about the little island though. sounds dangerous yet oddly thrilling! Probably best to avoid it though!
There is one Golden Triangle tour in India also. But i was not knowing that this Golden Triangle and it is good to see the place where borders of 3 countries meet. Really on my wish list.
A fascinating post indeed! I’m sure not many people know the full story behind the infamous Golden Triangle or the island you refer to. Still it would be an interesting place to visit if you are game enough and have the nerve. Obviously you would need to be careful and more diligent than usual.
Wow really surprised to learn about the opium trade. I know so many people that have gone there and speak wonders of the place. Also pretty cool that you can see 3 different countries from one spot.
It’s hard to believe that there is a place like this where no laws exist. You would think some country would try to claim it for its own. However, considering the problems, maybe they wouldn’t want it because then they’d have to police it and be responsible for what happens there.
Totally intrigued by what you saw though….
I hadn’t heard of the Golden Triangle until your post and it sounds very thrilling/scary/intriguing all at the same time! It seems like there are always pockets of land where anything goes all over the world! I wonder if any gold is buried on the island?
Extremely interesting place to visit and what a history !!
Did you visit Opium museum?
It is interesting to see this place where borders of 3 countries meet.
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