About halfway between Mae Chan and Mae Sai on Rte 110 is the west turn-off for Doi Tung. The name means ‘Flag Peak’, from the northern Thai word for flag (tung). King Achutarat of Chiang Saen ordered a giant flag to be flown from the peak to mark the spot where two chedi were constructed in AD 911; the chedi are still there. On the theory that local hill tribes would be so honoured by a royal presence that they will stop cultivating opium, the late Princess Mother (the king’s mother) built the Doi Tung Royal Villa (0 5376 7011; www.doitung.org; admission 70B; 6.30am-5pm), a summer palace on the slopes of Doi Tung near Pa Kluay Reservoir, which is now open to the public as a museum. The royal initiative also educated on new agricultural methods to stop slash and burn practices. Opium has now been replaced by crops such as, coffee, teak and various fruits. The rest of the property, including the Mae Fah Luang Garden and Mae Fah Luang Arboretum
Asia is the biggest continent on Earth, a darling little gem floating around in space.Hm, what is Asia? Who's in on it?China and India are safe bets for Asian nations. Korea, Japan, Thailand, you're fine.Europe? No. Europe would sort of be on the "Asian continent" if not for those pesky Ural mountains dividing things up in the middle, and then also the whole lineage of kings and wealth and nations and the EU and all that "give me my respect" stuff.Russia would probably be happiest as its own continent, so for now we'll leave it in "Eurasia" and just hope the natural gas supplies keep flowing.Pakistan and Afghanistan are dang close to Asia, but politically they show up in "Middle East" news stories an awful lot. Verdict: Eurasia.I guess we'll actually have to consider everything from Turkey on eastward to be "Eurasian", although the moniker seems overlappitory of the territory.The Asian economy is now officially raging like a wild furnace of lava that consumes everything in its path. Japan has had the largest individual economy in Asia for decades, but it is forecast that both India and China will outstrip Japan within twenty years.China is the largest holder of United States debt and is positioned to become the world's next superpower, provided that Godzilla doesn't return and decide to stomp everybody back into the Shang Dynasty.Text by Steve Smith.