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Mekong river boat journey: Houixai, Pakbeng to Luang Prabang: 09 - 14 Feb 2007
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This boat trip on the Mekong river from Houixai via Pakbeng to Luang Prabang was arranged for arts and graphic group from Europe (Germany, Switzerland and Italy). We left Bangkok by a flight to Chiang Rai, and before joining the group we made a quick visit to Golden Triangle where Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Thailand meet, and the Hall of Opium where the history of opium is displayed using special effects and reconstruction.

Departure at Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok
Waiting for boarding the Air Asia flight to Chiang Rai at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport.

A shop in Chiang Rai's night market

There was no regular bus, tuk tuk or motorcycle taxi at Chiang Rai airport to the town. We had to rent a saloon car to Golden Triangle Inn. The small hotel is a few hundred yards from the famous night market. Arts and gift shops, handicraft stalls, restaurants and bars, Internet cafes and mini stores populate the night market and its surrounding. Within about 3 hours we were able to visit a book shop and the market, have our late dinner, and check emails. When we left almost all shops were closed. This one selling lighting boxes and holders was still open at 10:45 p.m.

A portrait painter in Chiang Rai market
A portrait painter on her work in the night market.

An installation in Hall of Opium
An installation in Hall of Opium
Next day morning we traveled in a public pick up truck to Chiang Saen, an old town with ruins of Lana Thai Kingdom city which existed before the installation of Chiang Rai as a capital, on the Mekong river bank. Chiang Saen is now a major trading river port where Chinese, Thai and Lao products are loaded and unloaded.

From Chiang Saen we changed to another truck to come to Golden Triangle at the corner where Nam Mae Ruak river flows into Mekong river. The Hall of Opium in the Golden Triangle Park, opend in 2003, is a museum displaying the 5000 years history and impacts of opium, opiates and other narcotics using state of the art technology and architecture. It also offers nice cottage room accommodations at Greater Mekong Lodge in the same compound.
Phones: 053-784 444 ~ 6, and 053-652 151

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