Life through my lens...Golden Triangle

Nestled in the north of Thailand is a special place… a place where we played with elephants… a place where we experienced a culture so different from ours… a place where we were invited to see, touch, and feel things we only ever imagined…

This special place is the Chiang Rai province in the far north of Thailand where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos meet. This area is also referred to as the Sop Ruak because it’s where the Mekong and Ruak Rivers meet.

We spent 3 days in Chiang Rai and were mesmerized… words can’t explain the experience, so we’re telling this story with images… welcome to a photo journey to The Golden Triangle...

The view from the balcony of our hotel room….

We stayed at Anantara Golden Triangle which is notable because it was part of the experience… Anantara Golden Triangle has an onsite elephant camp. The camp was established in 2003 as a traditional mahout village (the tribal Thai people who live with the elephants). The camp works with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation to perform street rescues, provide employment and a comfortable lifestyle for the elephants and mahout families.

Going to the elephant camp was amazing… Daniel was only 3, so we didn’t do any of the more advanced elephant experiences (ranging from washing elephants to trekking on them through the mountains). Instead we spent time at the camp interacting with the elephants. It made such an impression on Daniel that his bedroom walls are covered with pictures of the elephants.

We spent a day exploring Myanmar and Laos. The boarder at Myanmar was quite an experience… we had to leave our passports at the office or we weren’t permitted to enter. This took a leap of faith that we’re glad we took…

We visited a small village in Myanmar and were so touched by the people. This wasn’t a situation where we were mobbed because we were tourists… the people were very friendly and welcoming but waited for us to approach them.

Young boys are expected to enter a monastery for a period of time as novice monks. Many only stay for short periods of time, but others never leave. Boys from poor families or who are orphans often stay to receive free educations, shelter, and care. The villagers near the monastery we visited volunteered to cook for the monks every day… you can see the set-up for lunch… a traditional meal accompanied by bottles of Fanta!

The Tachileik Shwedagon Pagoda (the two pictures to the right on the bottom row) is near the monastery and is a small replica of the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon.

Markets are great places to meet locals and experience the culture...

A short boat ride on the Mekong River took us to Laos. We were only in Laos for a short time, but got to experience some really interesting items at the market…

Flowers, dragonflies, butterflies… just some examples of the natural beauty of Chiang Rai…

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