» Country? Thailand.
» In a few words, what is the idea? It’s located on the shore of Laos. You may find it weird, but it has more interest than it seems at first glance. We tell you here why.
» Duration? Half-Day.
» For whom? It needs an open mind because this visit goes against the usual expectations, but in Thailand the gambling games are very popular. Going to play is probably not part of a slow journey, nevertheless, it is worth going there if you feel curiosity for this aspect of social life.
» Where? The Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai province.
» When? All year long.
A curious and somewhat paradoxical circumstance takes place on Thailand’s border with Laos, a country governed by a Communist political regime.
Next to the Mekong River, there is an exclusive economic free zone that includes a conventional casino, well, not quite conventional.
Perhaps, against all the odds, it might be of interest to you to reach such a remote place to spend a few hours in a casino.
Initially, it seems a little strange. You arrive at Chiang Saen and find the Mekong River which separates Thailand from Laos. As you scan the landscape, you spot several buildings in the distance, on the other bank. These buildings turn out to be part of a casino. What could justify our crossing the river to spend a few hours there?
Our destination could be described as ‘out of this world‘. The casino complex is built in no man’s land. You enter what is called a ‘special economic zone’, that is, an exception inside the territory of a communist country.
Surprisingly the reference currency is the Chinese Yuan and many of the gamblers are Thais.
There are various halls with different bets from slot machines to private areas for VIP gamblers, not forgetting the ever-present roulette wheels.
At the humbler tables, observing gamblers in sandals looking like they have just arrived from a street market, but in this luxurious setting inside a Neoclassical building, quite kitsch, is surprising and amusing.
Whether you gamble or not is up to you, but if you want to see something different and take time off from visits to temples and markets, it is an excellent option to fill up a free morning, afternoon or evening.
The casino has a hotel, but if you go for the day, then the best option is to visit it in the morning.
Check before crossing the border how this exit affects your current permit to stay in Thailand for tourism or the current visa.
We do not advance you anything because it may change the policy in this regard, but if a new permit is required to enter Thailand on return, this re-entry permit by land normally has a 15-day extension.