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Chiang Rai

Nestled in the heart of the Golden Triangle region, which encompasses the mountains of Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, Chiang Rai is a land of tropical hills and mountains. In the past, the Golden Triangle was synonymous with the drug trade, as poppies were grown in the area and transported by a number of ethnic and tribal militias.

Today, due to a series of major crackdowns, the Golden Triangle is considerably safer, and slowly gaining a name for itself through legal tourism rather than illicit smuggling. Standout attractions include the fun, fascinating Flight of the Gibbon, an intense, wildly fun zipline course; a journey up the Burma Road, which straddles the Myanmar-Thai border; and a series of high-mountain tea plantations.

Visitors should note that the demographics of the area are also much more ethnically diverse than elsewhere in Thailand - and, as such, are a fascinating contrast to the rest of the nation. A significant minority of the population is composed of hill tribes, among them the Karen, Lisu, and Akha, as well as ethnic Chinese settlers.

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