So off we went. The path took us behind a facade of concrete shops. We had to jump over mud and step through a few pools of foul-smelling brown water. (And I was wearing sandals.) We met a young couple from Germany. "Are there really rice terraces back here?" we asked.
They grinned. "Yeah, yeah. Keep going."
We rounded one more corner. And gasped.
Suddenly, and I mean SUDDENLY, the noise, the tourists, the shops, the scooters and cars and aggressive touts were gone, gone, gone.