Long Neck Karen Village , Chiang Mai
One of the unique experiences that I had during our Chiang Mai trip was a visit to the long neck tribe. We went to the long neck village that’s near the Tiger Kingdom and we stayed for about 45 minutes .
The entrance fee to the long neck village was 500 baht per person . Once you enter you are welcomed by long stretch of stalls where the long neck women sell their handicrafts , scarves and bags for you to buy. Some of them weave the cloths by hand, so tourists can see that the scarves they buy are authentic to the village.
You can also see some of the nipa houses where they live in the village. There were some children playing on the streets and the men where nowhere to be found. We assumed they were working but our guide told us the men here are quite lazy. Because they have the government support and most of the work are done by women, men generally don’t do anything.
The people from the long neck tribe are refugees from Burma who were accepted and supported by the Thai government for the tourist to visit. They are not allowed to go outside of the refugee camp. They have to live and work here . A way to actually help these people is to buy souvenirs directly from them.The handicrafts that we bought from here can also be found in other markets in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai . The main attraction was the women with long necks . They sat on their stalls quietly, smile to the tourists and Will take photo with if you purchase their merchandise....
The women that wears brass copper metals coiled up at their necks that eventually elongates them. They wear the brass metal coils because based on a legend that been cheated by man ages ago, it was believed that tigers would come to the village and attack the Womens . So the man says way to protect the women is to put these brass copper rings around their neck. Since then it has become a tradition and the women would wear these rings as early as 5 years of age .
when I lifted it with my hand, it was very heavy . Imagine wearing that all day, everyday for the rest of your life , No wonder their neck will grow longer. The heavy brass coil is so heavy , wearing it everyday will probably push your rib cages and collar bones down .
Nowadays the women gets more accessory on their legs and hands . It is believed that the longer their neck, the more beautiful they are. The women wear long and heavy brass rings around their neck all day all throughout the year .
This villages were located since 20 yrs. ago. There are 5 hilltribe villages with more than 200 villagers living on this mountain. Akha tribe, Iu Mien(Yao) Tribe, Lahu (Muser) Tribe, Palong(Big earring) tribe and long neck (kayan) tribe.