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Sapa

Sapa

Sapa, Vietnam: A Resort Reborn

Tay-Bác is the name given to Vietnam’s mountainous northwestern provinces. The area extends from Hanoi north along the Red River to the border of Yunnan Province, China and west of the river to the boundary of Phong Saly Province, Laos. The country’s highest peaks lie in Tay-Bác. The valleys and slopes are home to an ethnic mosaic of some of the most colourful and traditional peoples in Southeast Asia. Yet in all of Tay-Bác only one major urban centre is up in the hills.

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The Tarutao Archipelago

The Tarutao Archipelago

Thailand’s Sea-Girt Getaway

Imagine an isolated, sea-girt archipelago, its inaccessible karst cliffs rising above virgin rainforest, surrounded by deserted white sand beaches, turquoise waters and coral reefs teeming with every kind of exotic fish. Overhead a lone sea eagle is silhouetted against the setting sun. It’s everybody’s dream of a perfect getaway – but fortunately, at Thailand’s Tarutao Marine National Park, it’s more than just a dream. It’s reality.

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Ban Huai Kee Lek

Ban Huai Kee Lek

An Akha Village on Top of the World

The Akha are a relatively poor tribal people living on the very top of the most inaccessible peaks. Of Tibetan origin, they are the most recent hill people to have migrated to Thailand, and they are perhaps the least conversant with Thai as a language. They are immediately distinguishable by the elaborate and beautiful headgear of the women – perhaps the most remarkable single feature of Thai hill tribes.

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Phuket’s Peranakan Community

Phuket’s Peranakan Community

Thailand’s Historic "Straits Chinese"

“Peranakan” is a Malay term that, literally translated, means “of mixed race”. Over the centuries it has become used to identify the descendants of the first Chinese settlers in southern Thailand and peninsular Malaysia and their locally-born wives. The great majority of these Chinese migrants came from southern Fujian Province and spoke Hokkien dialect. Hard-working and ambitious, they were commercially successful, gradually developing and expanding both local and regional trade.

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Phanom Rung, Isaan’s Temple of the Gods

Phanom Rung, Isaan’s Temple of the Gods

A Drive to Phanom Rung via the Cambodian Frontier

Khorat’s Prasat Hin Phimai may be the best-known and most easily accessible Khmer temple site in Northeast Thailand, but Buriram’s Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung is perhaps better preserved, and certainly set amidst more spectacular scenery. Nor is it hard to reach if you have your own transport. Just 18 kilometres to the south of Route 24, the main highway between Khorat and Ubon Ratchathani, the carefully restored ruins are served by an excellent all-weather road from the small settlement of Ban Ta Ko, 18 kilometres to the west of Buriram’s Amphur Prakhon Chai.

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Bastion Of The South

Bastion Of The South

Nakhon Si Thammarat

No city in South Thailand has as much to offer the visitor in terms of history and culture as Nakhon Si Thammarat. Buddhist and Hindu temples, relics from the thousand year old civilisation of Srivijaya, impressive city fortifications still resisting the scourge of time – this city has them all, as well as a fine selection of fresh seafood restaurants to make the mouth water.

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A Bucolic Retreat

A Bucolic Retreat

The Black Tai of Loei Province

Few people, even in Thailand, know much in detail about the Tai Dam or “Black Tai” people. Certainly they are one of the numerous Tai-speaking sub groups scattered across mainland Southeast Asia from Assam to Guangdong, rather like the Tai Yai of Burma’s Shan State, the Tai Lu of China’s Sipsongpanna region, and the Tai Phuan of Xieng Khouang in Laos. But beyond this simple fact, little enough is generally known. Yet Thailand, unexpectedly, has its own small but flourishing Tai Dam community, living in a tranquil and idyllic setting in a remote corner of Loei Province.

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An Andaman Sea Delight

An Andaman Sea Delight

Trang Town and Coast

The southern Thai province of Trang, tucked away on the Andaman Coast between Krabi and Satun on the Malaysian frontier, is a fortunate place. For more than a century its people have prospered from extensive rubber plantations, rich fisheries and fertile agricultural land, attaining one of the highest provincial per capita incomes in Thailand. What’s more, in recent decades Trang’s lovely and unspoiled coastline, together with more than forty offshore islands, has started to attract visitors.

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