Get a taste of Burmese culture with a private tour from Chiang Rai across the border to Tachileik, Myanmar (Burma). Stop for glittering temples, local food and a bustling market before returning to northern Thailand to visit the Golden Triangle. Your expert guide explains the history of this region and its former role as a global supplier of opium.
Your experienced guide picks you up from your Chiang Rai hotel by private car and takes you to the Thai-Myanmar border. Once you cross into Tachileik, Myanmar, zip around in a tuk tuk – a three-wheeled unenclosed taxi –to see several temples and glimpses of Burmese life. At your first stop, the Temple of the Enrobed Elephant, marvel at the intricate gold-trimmed building as your guide explains the architectural details. Next you’ll see the Maha Muni pagoda, a fine example of typical Burmese temple architecture. Continue to Tachileik’s replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda – a famous gilded stupa in Yangon, Myanmar. The temple grounds showcase sculptures of mythical creatures, statues of Buddha’s disciples flanking a large golden Buddha and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Afterward, visit a Long-neck Karen Hill Tribe village. Traditionally, the womens' elongated necks, adorned in heavy brass coils, represented beauty and tribal identity. Please be respectful as you walk the village grounds by limiting photo ops. If you wish to purchase handicrafts, local artisans have their wares for sale and the income helps support the community. Enjoy a lunch break at a local restaurant where your guide helps you select delicious Burmese dishes to sample. After lunch, browse through the market area for an array of goods (own expense) ranging from modern clothing and DVDs to crafts and thanaka – a yellowish face powder commonly used as makeup by Burmese women and girls.Cross back into Thailand and take a scenic drive to the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. Once the world’s top producer of opium, this region is now known for tea production. Learn more about the fascinating history of the Golden Triangle as you visit the Hall of Opium, an excellent museum that details the history of the opium trade. On Mondays the Hall of Opium is closed; in that case, you visit another opium museum and take a boat trip on the Mekong River. After your daylong private tour of Tachileik and the Golden Triangle, your guide will return you to your Chiang Rai hotel in the late afternoon.