Mae Hong Son province in the far northwest is a region of remote towns and villages huddled at the foot of soaring limestone escarpments. This is about as off-the-beaten-track as Thailand gets, offering a glimpse how much of the country must have looked three or more decades ago.

Its main hub, Mae Hong Son town, serves as a convenient and comfortable base for trips into the surrounding hills to visit various ethnic minority villages: represented here are the Lisu, Lahu and so-called ‘long-necked Karen’, the Padaung, whose women elongate their necks by wearing stacks of brass rings. Trips up mangrove-lined rivers by petrol-powered dinghy or self-paddled canoes are another possibility.

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