The remote, mountainous countryside around Nan runs a close scenic second to the precipitous landscape of Mae Hong Son province, but its remoteness means that Nan has even worse transport and is even more poorly mapped. This does, of course, make it an exciting region to explore, where you may encounter the province’s ethnic minorities: the Thai Lue; the Htin, an upland Mon-Khmer people, most of whom have migrated since the Communist takeover of Laos in 1975; the Khamu, skilled metalworkers who have moved to Nan over the last 150 years from southwest China and Laos; and the little-known Mrabri – a good place to organize excursions is Fhu Travel. More straightforward targets include the temple at Nong Bua, with it superb murals, and beautiful Doi Phukha National Park.

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