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I, however, came for fresh air and solitude.

The beautiful Huai Kaeo waterfall is a 15-minute walk from the village through the dripping jungle. The falls plunge over three drops, each with a swimmable pool at the bottom and plenty of big rocks to sit on and read a book or listen to the sounds of the forest.

The Akha are perhaps most famous for their traditional dress. The most decorative of the hill tribe costumes, it is highlighted by colorful embroidered fabrics and headdresses intricately decorated with beads, feathers, shells and silver coins. These days, you are more likely to see Akha women in traditional dress selling trinkets at the Chiang Mai night bazaar. Most here dress in sarongs and flip-flops; the men wear T-shirts with logos of their favorite English football teams.

This is not a place where the outside world has been kept at bay, nor is it a tourist trap where bygone village life is re-enacted for the benefit of visitors. But it is a wonderful place to spend a few days relaxing amid stunning natural wonders and learning a little bit about a vanishing culture. That is, if you can find it.