DIG DEEPER For a better understanding of the Golden Triangle, how about taking a hike with a cultural anthropologist? Dr. Jeffrey Petry is a renowned expert on hill-tribe culture. He organizes tours of the area for those who want to do more than snap a few shots for the folks back home. If bird watching is more your bent, avian aficionado Tony Ball will escort you to some of the best vantage points in northern Thailand. Or Thai naturalist Jakraphan Prawinchiakul can lead you on weeklong nature treks, complete with Thai food "cooked the way it should be—on an open fire." Find these specialized guides and other person-to-person travel ideas on EarthFoot's ecotour poster board.
GOOD LIVING Click here for an excellent rundown of mid- to high-end accommodation in the north, complete with maps, prices, locations and a brutally honest traveler's forum that helps you navigate the hype.