Some 18 miles from Chiang Rai, Sop Ruak is not only situated on the border of three countries, but it also sits on a junction between the Mekong and Ruak rivers. The town has a small museum dedicated to all things opium and here you can get a feel of what an opium den was like.
At the southern-most point of the ‘triangle’ lies the ancient city of Chiang Saen. Now, just a small village, it was once a major crossroads and trade route. Today remnants of the ancient city walls and moat are still visible in the ruins.
The Golden Triangle is now a popular tourist destination with visitors typically visiting Sop Ruak, Chiang Saen and (when the border crossing is open) a small town in Myanmar (Burma) for some shopping. The whole area is very picturesque – the vistas across the river to Laos and Myanmar are breathtaking and there are several pleasant open-air restaurants offering panoramic views.