Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Once Northern Thailand's Hill Tribes survived by cultivating opium. Now many of the hill tribes who did so are supporting their families growing alternative crops through the Nong Hoi Royal Project (NHRP). The project encompasses seven villages, around 350 households and more than 2,800 inhabitants - mostly Hmong, Lisu, Chinese Haw and local people. Established by HM the King in 1969 when he visited the area, NHRP was designed to create sustainable occupations for the villagers who mostly conducted slash-and-burn farming along with the cultivation of opium. To that end it has been largely successful, so much so that neighbouring Lao People's Democratic Republic has decided to adopt the project. A worthwhile agro-tourism and eco-tourism destination to visit, The Nong Hoi Royal Project is located in Nong Hoi Kao village in Tambon Mae Rim - it takes about 40 minutes via the Chiang Mai-Fang Highway (107).