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Introduction to Chiang Rai

Golden Triangle

Guidebooks seems to have a different view of the evolution of the term 'golden triangle' and even disagree on when the term was coined. Most do agree that the term applies to the opium growing region covering northern Thailand, eastern Burma and western Laos.

Photo By Brian McMorrow

The Golden Triangle was one of Asia's main illicit opium-producing areas. It is an area that partly intersects the borders of three countries of Southeast Asia: Myanmar (Burma), Laos, and Thailand. It has been one of the most extensive opium-producing areas of Asia and of the world since the 1950s. The Golden Triangle also designates the confluence of the Ruak River and the Mekong river.

Opium and morphine base produced in northeastern Burma are still transported by horse and donkey caravans to refineries along the Thailand–Burma border for conversion to heroin and heroin base. Most of the finished products are shipped across the border into various towns in North Thailand and down to Bangkok for further distribution to international markets. In the past major Thai Chinese and Burmese Chinese traffickers in Bangkok have controlled much of the foreign sales and movement of Southeast Asian heroin from Thailand, but a combination of law enforcement pressure and publicity has significantly reduced their role. As a consequence, many less-predominant traffickers in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand now control smaller quantities of the heroin going to international markets.

Photo By Brian McMorrow

Opium production has only been illegal in Thailand since 1959. In partial thanks to the crop substitution program undertaken by the Royal Projects Foundation, established by His Majesty King Bhumipol, opium production has largely been eliminated in Thailand.

So if you expect to find huge field for commercial harvesting, there are without question small plots in remote locations but the average tourist will not really see much of the flowering poppy around.

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lamphun-wat phra that hariphunchai-01     
       ited in mid-town, Wat Phra That Hariphunchai was built during the reign of King Arthitayarat, a descendant of Queen Chamthewi some 800 years ago.A principal landmark is the 46-metre tall golden Chedi which contains a hair of the Lord Buddha, having nine-tiered umbrella, made of gold weighing approximately 6,498.75 grams...

Chiang Rai

      on the bank of the Kok River within town area, contains what is believed to be the oldest Holy Relic even before King Mengrai built Chiang Rai. Doi Chom Thong has been a sacred site for aextremely long time. The site was surely reverenced as the home of local spirits before Buddhism arrived in the area.

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