Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia)

1 reviews

The borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand come together in the exotically named Golden Triangle in the northern province of Chiang Rai. Chiang Rai province is around 182 kilometers (113 miles) north of Chiang Mai, a three-hour journey by road. The official center of the Golden Triangle is the town of Sop Ruak, where the Mekong meets the Nam Ruak.

Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia)

Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia)

The term “Golden Triangle” refers to the border regions between Thailand, Burma and Laos and when gold was used by Chinese traders to pay for opium grown there. Within Southeast Asia the term is synonymous with the opium and heroin trade.

The history of the opium poppy in the Golden Triangle can be traced back to various Chinese migrant groups for whom the poppy was an integral part of their cultural traditions. Elderly people regarded opium, and still do, as an acceptable natural stimulant. The Hmong tribe have always produced opium for trade, at first it was intended for the Chinese market, but later the French colonists bought large amounts during their reign in Indochina.

After Mao Zedong’s Communist Army defeated and ousted Chiang Kai-Sheks National Revolutionary Army, many of these Chinese Kuomintangs came to the Thai-Burmese border region looking for ways to make money. They decided to make their living in the drug trade and dramatically increased opium production.

Southeast Asia’s role in the production of opium sharply increased when poppy field plantations in Iran and China were prohibited in the 1950’s.

The Golden triangle became renown for opium and heroin production during the Vietnam War. On one hand there was a huge, ever increasing market for narcotics while on the other hand money from the drug trade was used by the CIA to fund allied armies secret missions and secret wars in Laos. The production of narcotics actually increased at the end of the Vietnam War up to the end of the 80’s. One reason for this was am ever increasing demand in The West.

The governments in the “Golden Triangle” have dealt with the problem of poppy production with differing levels of intensity. In Thailand the cultivation of poppies is illegal and in the Northern provinces they have been very effective in limiting cultivation. Northern Thailand has many new roads and airports which make it easier for the police and military to control and patrol the region effectively.

In Laos the locals still use opium pipes because the country is very poor. The government is trying to promote its tourism industry and has had some successes in this area. In the hotels, restaurants, trekking and tour agencies tourists can get information about making contact with hill tribes. One of the main rules which they are strict about is that under no circumstances should tourists smoke opium.

The ongoing efforts to prohibit opium in neighboring countries has caused Myanmar to become the biggest producer of opium in the Golden Triangle.

In our opinion the Gold of the Golden Triangle is its natural beauty, the inspiring natural lifestyles of the people and the fairy-tale temples glittering in the tropical sunlight.

For more information or tour reservation, please contact info@hynostravel.com

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