Day28 Mae Sai, Thailand (and Golden Triangle)

11:59 pm Motorbike/Motorcycle, Thailand, Travel
Distance Travelled 79km – Local travel only

Day28

We stayed at a hotel that is right on the border with Myanmar – the first two photos are looking into Myanmar.  It was quite misty in the morning before the sun did its job and evaporated the mist away.

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This is a typical Thai scene – the police officers are often seen in the various local shops.

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We left the hotel at 10:45am, and tried to find a laundry to get our clothes washed.  We then headed to the Golden Triangle.  The Golden Triangle gained its reputation during the 50’s and 60’s, when the opium "wars" took place in this region.  Various groups from Thailand, Myanmar (Burma at the time) and Laos fought over control – and the armies from each of the countries were also involved, despite Thailand officially outlawing opium in 1959.

Today there is an opium museum and a large Buddhist shrine in this area.  Tourists come by the thousands – though we were lucky to be here during the off season.

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This  is what the Golden Triangle is all about.  In fact, there are actually three triangles in this region:

  • Thailand, Myanmar, Laos
  • Laos, Vietnam, China
  • Laos, Myanmar, China

However, the latter two are not readily accessible to tourists.

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We then had lunch at this place by the side of the road.  From there we had a good view of the three countries – In the foreground of the second picture you have Thailand, in the middle is Myanmar, and on the far side is Laos.  You can see that there are boats going to Myanmar.  One can do a tour from the Thai side, and they take you on a short trip in Myanmar (less than 2kms) and then you return.  However, this is not an official border crossing, so you don’t actually get any passport stamps.  Rebecca is starting to really enjoy her spicy food – here she is in tears over the great chillis.

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On our return from the Golden Triangle, we stopped at the Thai customs building to see if we could take our motorbike into Myanmar the next day.  I had re-read my motorbike importation papers, and noticed that the motorbike also only had approval to stay for 30 days.  The customs people were very helpful and said that I could take the motorbike out of Thailand, but that I may not be able to take it into Myanmar.  However, as long as I took it into an area between the borders, they would allow it to re-enter Thailand for another 30 days.

It was interesting to see that there was a lot of activity at the customs building.  It seems that huge teams of people were sorting through clothing that was being shipped across the border.  I guess they were looking for other goods that may be hidden within (in the big tarpaulin bags in the background).

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I spent some time working on my blogs, and Rebecca had a sleep.  Later that evening we picked up our clean clothes (which were washed by a Burmese woman who couldn’t read Thai.  She did a great job with our laundry, and it only cost a couple of dollars.

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After dinner we fueled up the bike – in Thailand all service stations are still operated by staff, so you don’t have to pump the fuel yourself.  However, it is a hard job when you are short and you have to fill up a big bike.

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But it does have it’s rewards.

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