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Longneck Karen in North Thailand

Longneck Karen

Longneck Karen

The minority village Ban Nai Soi is about 15 km out of the state capital of Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province in the north. It’s easy to reach by Motorbike. Just follow the signs to the Longneck Karen Village. In the 18th century the Burmese-tibeto origin come to the north of the Kingdom. The woman’s of this “type” of Karen minorities wear metal rings around her neck’s which let them look as a longer neck than other people. Nobody knows really why they do that, but they wear it since generations. Some people believe that they wearing the rings to protect them self from tiger bites. Other ones think the Longneck woman in Thailand’s Mountain wear the metal because than they are not attractive for men from other hill tribe minorities. Some travelers or backpacker don’t visit the Karen villages in North Thailand because they think that they destroy the culture. I think it’s ok to visit them when you follow some rules. For me it’s important to know something about the people and the art of living before I visit the village. Just in this way it’s possible to respect the lifestyle and the culture of the Karen. Inform yourself is it ok for them that tourists come into the Thai villages in Asia. Some Minorities don’t like that the travelers make pictures because of religious aspects. Don’t touch statues or sth. like that, maybe it’s holy for the hill tribes. My point of view is: if you know something’s about their life, you can respect that and if you want to visit the Longneck Karen its ok so long you leave nothing instead of used air and footsteps at the village. No waste and no inspirations for a different life so far it is possible.

Ban Nai Sai Village

Ban Nai Sai Village

For us it was the second time that we visit Karen Minorities in North Thailand but the first time that we meet the Longneck woman. Our first time was at Chiang Mai’s Doi Internon National park. We traveled by motorbike from Pai to Ban Nai Soi village near Mae Hong Son town. It was a nice trip at long the beautiful landscapes of the highlands in Asia. The village is about 500 meter long and on every side of the path are simple bamboo huts where the Karen lives. One Longneck Girl give me a neck ring, I think it was about five kilogram heavy. I read before the metal on their body’s can be up to 25 kg. The people are friendly and it’s nice to see how happy people can be without commercial thinks far away from shopping malls and other civilization thinks here on this quiet spot in South East Asia.

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