Why you should pass on the Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand

Why you should pass on the Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand 7

Why you should pass on the Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand

I love the plan. It’s what I do. I admire those brave and adventure travelers who can leave their next destination to chance but not this guy. Ever since I spent a day lugging a 30 pound backpack through the hilly streets of Chamonix France in search of a place to sleep, I plan ahead. To never repeat that incident again and to ensure I find the best things to do at the best prices, I research. I utilize the inter-webs and other travel bloggers knowledge and always maximize my time. That is until I got signed up for the Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand. Here’s why:


Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand – What you should know

Beat from an extensive travel schedule, we left Chang Mai up to chance. We knew we were going to ride (walk) elephants and take a cooking class but beyond that we were free for whatever. Although I knew absolutely nothing about it, I knew I wanted to see the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chang Rai so when I walked past a tour company advertising a day trip to it I blindly booked it. Like a pigeon tourist I got up so sold to the Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand which included a stop at the Mekong River where Laos, Burma, and Thailand meet. The Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand also includes an optional stop at a longneck tribal Village, the Burma border, and an optional boat ride to Laos. Sounds solid right? Not so much.

Now if I would have planned ahead I would’ve known that:

  • The Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand is over 12 hours, 9+ of it are spent on a bus.
  • The alternative to going on the optional boat ride to Laos is waiting on the side of a dirt road until everyone gets back.
We opted against waiting and took the boat ride to Laos – Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand
  • The trip to Laos is like visiting a leather bag factory on the side of a road.

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Translates to “Welcome to Laos suckers!” – Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand


  • The Longnecked tribe is not authentic. It is done for tourist entertainment which is sickening…although it provides money for those that may not have it otherwise so I don’t know…we did not partake.
  • The alternative to visiting the Longneck tribe is sitting on the side of a dirt road until everyone gets back.
We opted to skip the Longkneck tribe on the Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand and hung out with this guy instead!
  • Visiting the Burma border is like visiting a busy tourist market in Thailand.


And finally,

  • The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) is unlike any other temple in the world.
Welcome to Wat Rong Khun, the highlight of the Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand.



Why This Temple is the highlight of Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand

At the time I didn’t know how to feel about this last point. From what I had seen in pictures, this place was a pristine shrine. What I didn’t realize is what this is a shrine for. Around the grounds there are decorations of shrunken heads to Predator coming out of the earth. Everything was some sort of homage to science-fiction with the mural inside of the shrine taking the proverbial slice of the weird cake.


I wasn’t able to take pictures inside but have a look here –> TURBO ODD PICTURES OF WAT RONG KHUN MURAL

Keanu Reeves?
Michele Jackson?
What. The. Fuck.

I left there with more questions than answers. If I had planned ahead I think I would have appreciated Wat Rong Khun more for what it is than what it isn’t. Also, this was the highlight for me on the Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand and it isn’t even on the Golden Triangle! Blah.

Long Day, Little Results

In the end it was a long day of seeing things I would normally pass on. Still, as surprising as the Wat Rong Khun was to me, it really is interesting and I did get to have a beer in Laos which wasn’t on the travel itinerary. I will take those as wins but would not recommend this Golden Triangle Tour in Thailand to anyone. Alternatively renting motor bikes and doing the tour on your own over a couple of days would be fun.  I essentially paid for sleeping on a short bus for 9 hours.

My loss is your win! Plan ahead.



So how does this tour rank?

7 Guide
3 Execution
5 Information
5 Value
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  • Rick Gould

    Sounds like a bit of a run around! Thanks for the heads up mate!

  • Aaron Kolle

    Sorry to hear the tour sucked but that temple does look rad! I never made it past Chiang Mai but wanted to go. Guess it is a good thing I didn’t!

    • The White Temple is pretty unreal. I would go back for sure!

  • Pat White

    I did the same thing 5 years ago! I liked it but I knew what I was getting into. I didn’t know the long kneck tribes were just for tourists. That is a bit sickening.

    • Yah very sad Pat. Im a bit mixed on it as it brings in tourist $$ but at what cost.

    • Farano Gunawan

      I was curious of how they woven the fabric.. its a visiting merchant whom supply those… LOL

  • Erin | No Ordinary Nomad

    That temple is so awesome, I’ve been wanting to get there for ages! Seems like the rest of the tour was worth a miss though. Thanks for sharing!

    • It is pretty odd but worth the trip. Definitely skip the rest of the trip though!

  • Katie McGrain

    Good to know if I ever make it there! I am not a fan of all day tours like that, so I would have been pretty miserable to be with! Glad there was some good with the beer and the very cool temple!

    • I think I like to find a silver lining in things…which usually involves beer…

  • travelingilove

    You convinced me that organized trips are always (or usually) not for me 🙂
    BTW the temple’s amazing!!!

  • Thanks for posting this! Sometimes these kinds of tours don’t work out and end up being mostly a waste of time, and touristy in the worst way possible…now people can learn not to take this trip and to visit the temple as part of a different tour, or on their own. I also saw that you mentioned doing an elephant ride…not sure if you’ve done this yet, but you might want to reconsider. It is actually quite cruel to the elephants…here’s a great article if you’re interested in reading it! http://bemusedbackpacker.com/2014/09/15/the-elephant-in-the-room-why-you-shouldnt-go-on-an-elephant-trek-in-thailand/ Usually people who are interested in interacting with elephants instead will head to the Elephant Nature Park instead where the elephants are rescued from these kinds of operations and live out the rest of their lives peacefully! http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/

  • Garanatsis Dimitrios

    i Dunno if after 2 years you get this ; would you suggest rent a car from CM to the White Tmple and return?
    Will the -in between- trip offer us anything more? from the google maps all i can see is road road roads..

    • For sure! You can rent scooters for cheap and a visit to Chiang Rai is worth it for the White Temple alone. Enjoy!

  • Farano Gunawan

    Wooww…. was have a chance to the Golden Triangle itself.. stay at Mae Sa, ride boat to Myanmar’s riverbank (my Thai friend afraid of stopping by), then proceed to Don Sao for local “crazy” cocktail; dipped gecko, snake, & scorpion.. overall, it drought me off..