The Golden Triangle area of Thailand has long been associated with the opium trade and it’s sometimes disconcerting for visitors to the area to see the little sleepy villages in areas which were once dangerous drug trading areas.
Opium production has been illegal in Thailand since 1959. Thanks to a highly successful crop substitution program undertaken by the Royal Projects Foundation established by the present king. opium production has largely been eliminated in Thailand. However, across the border in Burma, the Shan United Army, which is fighting the central Burmese government for an independent Shan state, has been accused of funding its war through the sale of opium and heroin.
The area is full of beautiful natural scenery and ancient temples, so it is well worth a visit. In fact, the area is proving very popular for those that want something different, away from the beach scene.