Northern Thailand’s Karen Long Neck Tribe, Is It Worth the Visit?

Long Neck

Karen Long Neck Tribe

About 40 minutes from the Golden Triangle is Thailand’s Northern hill tribe, Karen Long Neck Tribe. A “donation” of 430 Baht per person is collected to enter the village. The tribe solely depends on funding from tourism, so leave with some souvenirs.  

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Rows of colorful handwoven scarves, clothing, bags, and fabrics hang from thatched roofs of the small shops. 
Long Neck Tribe
Rows of shops line the single dirt road into the village.

Long Neck Tribe

Long Neck Tribe.png

Long Neck Tribe.png

Gold neck coils were first worn by unmarried women and children of Padaung tribes as protection against tiger attacks and bad luck after several deaths in the village. The gold coils were replaced with brass as the price of gold increased becoming too expensive for the tribe. 

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We pose for a photo with the oldest woman of the Long Neck Tribe. She wears the most coils around her neck in the village as well as optional leg and wrist coils.

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Girls receive their first coils at the age of 5. Every 3 years, 3 more coils are added until marriage or reaching the age of 25. The most recorded worn coils weigh 17.6 pounds and measure 25 rings high. The coils are never removed and are bolted together. Leg and wrist coils are given as gifts to girls and women to feel beautiful as other cultures gift jewelry.

Long Neck Tribe.png

Long Neck Tribe.png
Only women and small children are present in the quite village.
Long Neck Tribe
Outside of the Long Neck village, a field of Mini Honey Pineapples grow. Sliced and served on a stick, these pineapples are crispier than a regular pineapple and have a honey after taste.

Traveling Gingerbread Note: Visiting the village didn’t quite meet our expectations. Other than peering beyond the small collection of shops into what we assume to be the tribe’s living quarters, we didn’t learn much of their daily life. The women in the village were extremely quiet. In some shops the only sound was the pull of the wooden loom as thin threads were wove into fabric. Most women sat poised in the shadows of their small tent smiling at visitors entering their colorful room of souvenirs. There were very few other tourists and the village felt a bit eerie. 


September 2018

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Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

My fiancé, Mitch, and I have been traveling together over four years. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, PA, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, and experiences to maximize our time. Any time we travel, we try to visit to a local brewery and can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. 
 In Tokyo, we laughed every time we saw someone talking on their large, animated phone case. We had to buy one. Having an obsolete IPhone 5, the selection was limited. We purchased a gingerbread off a neglected rack in Shinjuku, Tokyo and The Traveling Gingerbread was born. You can purchase your own adorable gingerbread friend here! The Traveling Gingerbread is an entertaining account of our travels, fun facts, and tips we learned along the way.

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