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Part of Umphang’s charm lies in the journey, as the road from Mae Sot is one of Thailand’s most scenic. The village – its population consisting largely of Karen tribespeople – is surrounded by the lush forests of Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, rich in bird life and small mammals. Umphang has become popular for rafting, hiking, and elephant treks, but its isolation has kept most of the tourist hordes away. Here too are many cascades and rapids (including one of the country’s highest waterfalls, Thi Lo Su), caves, and Karen settlements. Several agencies in Umphang or Mae Sot can arrange treks. Visitors should avoid school vacations, when this region is crowded and accommodations scarce.

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