Chiang Rai province. 84,000. Chiang Rai, then songthaew. n TAT, Chiang Rai (0-5371-7433). ( daily. Situated on a plain between mountains and jagged limestone outcrops, this small market town is a popular meeting place for hill tribes, particularly Akha . Mae Saruai is modernizing rapidly, and new agriculture, including flower production, is replacing traditional crops such as rice.
Cars can be rented in Chiang Rai to visit the Akha hill-tribe villages. The remote ones are accessible on motorcycles or by trekking. Ban Saen Chareon, 6 miles (10 km) west of Mae Saruai, was the subject of a major study of the Akha.