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<b>Give delegates a backpack and $10 each</b>

    Headline: Give delegates a backpack and $10 each
Source: Euromoney
Date: April 2000

They arrive, a little disorientated, pale and gangly, on the cusp of adolescence and adulthood, secretly tingling with excitement and nervousness, but desperately trying to project an air of worldliness and an attitude of "been there, done that, got the T-shirt". After 12 hours on a bus, they wished they'd paid the extra Bt143 ($3.5) for the air-conditioning. But hey - this is the real Asia.

Forget Khao San Road, the Bangkok district that attracts backpackers like a leg in shorts and sandals lures mosquitoes. Chiang Mai is the place to be for those with the inside track. After six months bedecked in batik print trousers and cultivating their dreadlocks, today's gap-year Indiana Joneses are tomorrow's PriceWaterhouseCoopers presentation fodder. If the Mekong whiskey doesn't get to their senses first, intrepid backpackers to Chiang Mai would do well to absorb some of the culture of Thailand's second city. Of course, the night market is a must, try some spicy som tam papaya salad, take an elephant ride, trek to a hilltribe village and buy some of the fabulous Thai silk...

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