Mae Taeng/Pai/Chiang Mai Region: Northwest Thailand
The Northwestern region of Thailand is home to a number of hilltribes including Akha, Karen, Lisu, Lahu, Meo and Yao. It wasn't until this century that the North became accesible from Bangkok by more than a complicated river trip or by a journey of several weeks on elephant back.

In the poppy fields outside of Mae Taeng, a mother and her children sit for a spell before the long walk from the fields back to their village. Opium was outlawed over 20 years ago but when this photo was taken in 1986, poppies were still grown and opium widely used.

These days, King Bhumibol personally directs an ambitious crop-substitution program aimed at the hillpeople who traditionally derived their income from the poppies.

A monk tends the gardens outside of his simple home. This monastery is in Chiang Mai - Thailand's second largest city. Much smaller than Bangkok - and without the horrendous traffic and pollution problems - Chaing Mai can be gotten around by bicycle.