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Tea Leaves

No-reservations travel sets you free

Ditching travel planning turns out to be a liberating experience in Thailand

Boating in Ban Rak Thai: Located near the Myanmar border, the remote Thai village was not on the author's travel itinerary, but it proved to be a delightful discovery. (Shutterstock)

Though only a stone's throw from the Myanmar border, I was sure the village must still be in Thailand. I just couldn't work out why everything looked and sounded so Chinese. Even the name, Ban Rak Thai, or "the home that loves Thais," seemed to imply that the place itself had some kind of separate nationality.

After a bit of digging, I realized that I had stumbled on a legacy of the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party), a small group of whom were pushed west out of China by Mao Zedong's forces during the Chinese civil war and settled right here.

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