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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Thailand series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring essential information about Thailand, Thai Culture and Thai People. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 12: The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle, or สามเหลี่ยมทองคำ, is the area in which Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet as one. In Thailand, locals call this area สบรวก (Sop Ruak), meaning “meeting Ruak”, as this is where the Mekong River meets the Ruak River. The Golden Triangle is located approximately nine kilometers from the historic town of Chiang Saen, or in Thai, เชียงแสน. Visitors can clearly see the borders of Myanmar and Laos from this point.
Historically, the Golden Triangle has been an area well-known for growing opium, but nowadays, the region thrives on its booming tourist industry. Many tourists come to the Golden Triangle to see first-hand the place that once hosted the largest drug-trafficking site in the world.
There are many activities that tourists can do at the Golden Triangle. Besides taking photos and relaxing with scenic views, visitors can go on a longtail boat ride, or เรือหางยาว, to see views of village life in the many riverside settlements, particularly in Laos. Visitors often also stop at a small island named ดอนซาว (Done Xao) in Laos, to buy tax-free products such as alcohol, local fabrics, bags, and wooden decorative items. No visa for Laos is required to make this trip. Technically you are in Laos when you’re on the islands, so you can claim to have visited Laos as well if you go! Keep in mind, though, you are not allowed to enter the rest of Laos from these islands without a visa.
The area's legacy of opium production, usage and trading is well documented in two museums. The older of the two is found right in Sop Ruak, and is called the House of Opium, or in Thai พิพิธภัณฑ์บ้านฝิ่น. The newer, more detailed and expensive museum is about two kilometers out of town. This museum is called the Hall of Opium, or พิพิธภัณฑ์หอฝิ่น อุทยานสามเหลี่ยมทองคำ, and is highly recommended for a visit.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What would you want to do if you visited the Golden Triangle?
Leave a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com! Until next time!