Forever China in a Corner of Thailand

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Just a stone's throw from Burma is a small, mountainous corner of Thailand that might as well be in China. But you won't find portraits of Mao hanging on the walls or Little Red Books being thumbed in the village tea shops. Instead you might find battered copies of Chiang Kai-shek's memoirs, and your server will probably speak Yunnanese.

Santikhiri, nestled in the upper slopes of Doi Mae Salong in the northernmost province of Chiang Rai, is the kind of place that time forgot. This quaint hamlet, wreathed in a pink mist of cherry blossoms, is home to the so-called...