If you’ve never been to Chiang Mai, you should know that the local tour operators offer a day tour to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai. One of the highlights of this tour is The Golden Triangle. If you’ve never heard of it, Google it! But if you are too lazy to do it, let me copy-paste the Wikipedia here;
The Golden Triangle is one of Asia’s two main opium-producing areas. It is an area of around 367,000 square miles (950,000 km2) that overlaps the mountains of three countries of Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.
Along with Afghanistan in the Golden Crescent, it has been one of the most extensive opium-producing areas of Asia and of the world since the 1950s. Most of the world’s heroin came from the Golden Triangle until the early 21st century when Afghanistan became the world’s largest producer.
The Golden Triangle designates the confluence of the Ruak River and the Mekong River, since the term has been appropriated by the Thai tourist industry to describe the nearby border tripoint of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
So basically, when you go to the Golden Triangle they say you are actually stepping foot in three countries all at once! Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. But the thing is, it’s a bit of a scam really because we all know that it doesn’t really count if there’re no stamps in the passport!
After the boat tour they took us to this bogus place they called Done Sao Island. They told us that it’s part of Laos and they made us stay there for about an hour, just so we would buy all the souvenirs they sell on this island and here’s the funny thing, we actually paid an entrance ticket to get to enter the island. It was like paying a ticket to get access to a cheap-ass shopping mall. T_T
So after the boat tour this is what happened, I did not know everyone in our tour. So instead of giving names.. i will be describing them.
The British guy with a limp, Sharon de pengyou, and I wanted to get our passport stamped at the Golden Triangle. Do forgive our stupidity but our guide, Louis (pronounced like Jerry lee Lewis), assured us that it was possible. So we went to the immigration counter and asked for the stamp. One thing lead to another… before we even realized what happened, the British guy with the limp was getting in a hot spot because the policeman didn’t seem to understand what we wanted. The friendly chatter suddenly turned into a bit of an interrogation and I was already feeling a little bit worried for our British friend. To make it even worst suddenly a TV Crew-Like guy appeared out of nowhere and began to film the whole thing! I was like… what the eff have we got ourselves into?? Why on earth are they filming this? I was ready to grab the Brit and tell him it’s time to go! Luckily, he sensed that he was about to get in trouble.. and quickly ended the conversation. Phew! AND Jerry Lee Lewis was there just in time to save us! We just couldn’t get our asses outta there fast enough!
To this day, I still have no idea what the Camera-Crew was all about. We didn’t even see them at first, they appeared out of no where! Perhaps they have this Cops-like reality show and they’re just there to film immigration officers doing their jobs and eat donuts (just kidding!).
I don’t want to turn this into a cautionary tale. But if you ever find yourself in similar situation, camera-crews plus authorities are a sure sign that you should high-tail it out of there! Plus, don’t expect your passport to be stamped when you’re in the Golden Triangle because it doesn’t really count as crossing the borders!