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North of Chiang Dao lies the pretty resort town of Tha Ton, which sits on the River Kok right across the border from Myanmar. The local temple, Wat Tha Ton, is built on a cliff overlooking the town. From the bridge below boats set off for trips on the River Kok, some of them headed for Chiang Rai, 130 km (81 miles) away.
Tha Ton is a pleasant base for touring this mountainous region. The 1089 and 1130
highways that run north, close to the Myanmarborder, pass through villages that are more Chinese than Thai, inhabited by descendants of Kuomintang nationalist forces who fled here from Mao Tse-tung's army in the civil war that gave birth to the People's Republic of China. The largest community is Mae Salong.
Ban Sop Ruak, a village in the heart of the Golden Triangle, was once the domain of the opium warlord Khun Sa. Thai and Burmese troops hounded...
The dusty, rather dilapidated village of Chiang Dao has two claims to fame: Thailand's third-highest mountain, 7,500-foot Doi Chiang Dao, which...