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My Favorite Cheesy Tour

a woman in a life jacket on a boat

I usually avoid organized day tours like the plague. The ones where they load you up in a bus to see a historic site but make multiple stops to visit “artisans in their workshops using techniques thousands of years old.” And in reality winds up being a video viewing with an attached gift shop.  Not really high on my list.

But sometimes those touristy tours can wind up being a lot of fun. One of my favorites with the Golden Triangle tour out of Chiang Rai, Thailand.

a man sitting in a car

We spent about an hour in a van driving north through picturesque landcape until we arrived at the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar all meet.

a tree in a field

We first visited a local temple on top of the hill where we could look out at the Golden Triangle and have our picture taken.

a stone staircase with a statue of crocodiles

a sign on a railing overlooking a river

Then we would taken down to the river where a tiny motorboat would take us up the river so we could dip our hands into the dirty water and forevermore be able to proudly declare “I was in Burma!”

a boat on the water

Totally awesome somehow 🙂

a person pointing at water

Then it was a quick turn around and we were headed to down the river to a “real fishing village.”

a group of houses by the water

A fishing village that was actually like a tiny night market with lots of fake designer goods and things like snake whisky which boasta a real snake in the alcohol. I actually found one of my favorite purses there and it was fun to mention I picked it up in Laos when people complimented me.

a street with tents and trees

And the crowning fun? When we first got on the boat they snapped our picture and when we eventually got back to the dock we were offered the chance to buy a souvenir….PLATE with our picture! It was actually a pretty good picture and was only 5 bucks, so I figured why not.

The tour culminated at the nearby opium museum, which was ok, but not quite what I expected. Half of it was dedicated to the evils of modern day drugs.

A few years later I went with another friend and it wasn’t quite the same experience. The boat was still cool but the tiny fishing village/market had expanded and was now three or four rows of well established stalls with much the same inventory you see at in MBK in Bangkok. And writing about this rather makes me want to revisit South of the Border again 🙂

What has been your favorite touristy experience?

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