Elephant riding was big business, but in Thailand things are changing, writes Lindy Laird.

We are at a high spot, several hours from Chiang Mai near the northern tip of Thailand where you can see the border between Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, the once-notorious Golden Triangle where hills swathed in opium poppies were the district's main economy - that and other drug-growing and smuggling industries.

Our group of journos and animal protection advocates learns that that was a few decades ago, and the hillsides and valleys are now covered in forests and rice paddies.

But since the Golden Triangle era

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