Photographer's Note

Chiang Rai is the most northern province (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from east clockwise) Phayao, Lampang and Chiang Mai. In the north it borders Laos and Myanmar.

The north of the province belongs to the so-called Golden Triangle, at which the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge - an area which was very unsafe because of the drug smuggling across the borders. The Mekong river forms the boundary with Laos, the Mae Sai River to Myanmar. Through the town Chiang Rai itself flows the Kok River.

While the eastern part of the province is relatively flat river plains, the western part consists of mountainous terrain. While not the highest elevation of the province, the 1322 m high Doi Tung (Flag hill) is the most important hill.

A hill tribe is any one of around twenty ethnic groups living in Northern Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. Most of these groups also exist outside Thailand, but the term is most often used to refer to the Thai groups. The word "tribe" itself is somewhat inaccurate, as the groups have no leaders; the term “mountain people” is sometimes preferred although they do not all live in mountains.

The hill tribes together number approximately 550,000. Most of them migrated to Thailand from Tibet, China, Burma or Laos in the 19th and 20th centuries. The main groups are the Mien (also known as Yao), Karen (Thai Gariang), Akha (Thai Egaw), Lahu (Thai Musay) Hmong (Thai Meo) and Lisu (Thai Lisaw).
A village of Akha tribesman, with the traditional thatched roofs, in northern Thailand.

The Thai government has opposed some of the hill tribes’ agricultural practices, specifically the growing of opium and the use of slash and burn agriculture. Its campaigns against both of these have met with some success. Similar programs in Laos have been moderately successful, and these programs are almost non-existent in Myanmar.

Many hill tribe people now make all or part of their living from the tourist industry, either by hosting trekkers or by selling handicrafts. The children in many of the tribes are often dressed in very colourful clothing, and wear valuable bangles and necklaces. Their headress is often bedecked with silver coins and other silver ornaments. Many of the children, even toddlers, smoke cheap cigarettes.

(source: Wikipedia)

PS: I appologise for the 500px larger side and watermark in the frame, but some unauthorized use has happened before in other websites (including mine).

Cliffy, patriik, rui_seabra oznaczył to zdjęcie jeko użyteczne

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Additional Photos by Joel Santos (joelsantos) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 21 W: 0 N: 231] (1413)
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