Friday, October 21, 2011

The Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia

Mountains of the Golden Triangle.
The Golden Triangle is a popular area. Hear it, people immediately imagine insurgents and rebels, secret army, train transporting opium passing through the forest, triads, DEA agents and CIA narcotics eradication, native tribes in the mountains, remote villages and poppy flowers pink and white breast height which becomes source of opium, as well as its derivatives, morphine and heroin. From the 1960s until the 1990s, the Golden Triangle is a region in the northern part of Southeast Asia including Burma - Wa and Shan states - northern Laos and northern Thailand, particularly Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai and the district of Chiang Mai province. Called the 'gold' because the wealth of this region comes from the black gold or opium.

A woman holding a child was plucking a poppy near Muang Sing, Laos.

Remote mountainous areas and dense forest is inhabited by ethnic Shan, Tai Lu and Hmong, Akha, Lisu, Yao, and other tribes are smaller. Most of the region, until recently, very difficult to achieve. Almost closed from the central government in Bangkok, Vientiane, and until now had very little control they Rangoon. political and military power in the area that became part of Laos and Thailand are controlled by the guerrilla commander who lived from drug trafficking. It is still true in northeastern Burma. After the civil war in China, a unit of the Republican army (Kuomintang) moves to the north of Thailand, fighting over territory with government troops under the command Shan Khun Sa. Meanwhile, army strong Wa State is increasingly becoming a major player, at the waning influence of the Kuomintang and Khun Sa began to retire.

The view from the city of the Kuomintang, Mae Salong to the former headquarters of Khun Sa in Hin Taek.

Some time later, under U.S. pressure, the Thai government made great efforts to eradicate opium production in this region. And even though 20 years ago the fields the poppies still easily visible in northern Thailand and Laos, is now very rarely seen in Thailand and will be decreasing in Laos.

Black gold.

Many of the poppies that have been turned into coffee, tea, seasonal fruits and vegetables in Thailand, and in northern Laos, most of the forest has been turned into rubber plants that are resistant to cold temperatures. In addition, traditional tribes 'problematic' moved to lowland areas, to be more easily monitored. In Burma, the poppy crop has been increasingly disappearing as the weakening of Shan soldiers who tried to fix the image, while the Wa Army would prefer to produce methamphetamine are much easier and profitable.

Former poppy field is now turned into a tea plantation.

In Thailand, a poppy field is not there anymore and most of the mountains has now entered the path of road construction, the process of cultural assimilation and agricultural projects by members of the kingdom of Thailand, government, and various charities. Now, the term Golden Triangle become more of a marketing tool for the tourists. Golden Triangle tourist area is now the village of Sob Ruak, a meeting place borders Burma, Laos and Thailand. Here you can buy T-shirts, visit the two museums and enjoy a cool drink of opium in opium lounge of a luxury hotel. There's Golden Triangle Inn for a place to stay, you also can follow the tracks of the Golden Triangle and pay 20 baht to take pictures in a poppy field Doi Pui. And this photo Kok River between Burma and Thailand, formerly an important smuggling route once popular but now as a tourist destination boats between Tha Ton and Chiang Rai.

Kok River is beautiful without drugs.

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