The Long Neck People of Chiang Rai

1:32 PM


How fast days can turn into months and then years. Before I know it, I realized that this post is long overdue. But no excuse not to post this, as this is one of the best memories I had in Chiang Rai.
 Just imagine finally seeing and touching what you use to see in encyclopedias when you were just a kid. Yes, I was talking about Thailand's Long Neck Women.

When my friend Lorgene and I boarded the plane to Chiang Rai from Bangkok I have no idea that the Long Neck tribe was included in his itinerary. I was just there – going with the flow, eager and a bit curious to cross border.  I was told that we will be going to Burma and Chiang Rai is the nearest point in getting there. Flight from Bangkok to Chinag Rai (via Plane) is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. I don't have problems with semi long haul flight since I always doze off.

Lorgene’s college friend Jane fetches us from the airport and we stayed at their place. The next day we rented a private vehicle to tour us around Chiang Rai. First on the Itinerary is of course The Long neck tribe.  It's also called the Union of Hill Tribe Villages and Longneck Karen since before reaching the long neck you'll have to pass though 4 tribes first, the Akha, Lu Mien, Lahi and Kayaw. 
All tribes are located atop of a remote hill away from the rest of the civilizations.
The traditional Brass rings that they wore around their neck, arms and legs. yes they are very heavy. 
Many theories have developed regarding the reason why they are wearing the coil brass. Two of which are first for cultural identity, linked with beauty -The higher they wear the coil brass the desirable and beautiful they are. Second, it protects them from tiger bites.
This woman is all smiles when she sees us. =)
The Long Neck Women are really expert at carving and weaving. Here are samples of their works which can be bought as souvenirs. 
At age 5 girls are already required to wear coil brass 
The Akha woman
Planning to go to Thailand? I suggest you take a side trip to Chiang Rai and visit the tribe. 

Entrance Fee: Aroung 300 Baht
Address: 262 Moo 6 Ban Paoo Nanglae, Chiang Rai
Email: unionhilltribe@hotmail.com
or check their Website: www.longneckkaren.com



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