One of the spots I visited during my 2016 Thailand Trip was the Karen Long Neck Tribe. It was not the first time I heard about them but chances were not there during my past visits in the north of Thailand. I was surprised that when Google showed me the location, it was very near the city of Chiang Rai.
Reaching the place, it was not what I had expected. It was set up like an open air museum where entrance fees were collected (THB 300 per person), information were posted and the metal rings were displayed at the entrance.
My memory failed me, I can’t remember the exact weight of one ring but it is more than 1KG!
Entering the village is a setting of a very remote rural area, the place is composed of different tribes, not only the Karen Tribe, they have made this place a showcase of the indigenous tribes in Thailand…of course for tourism purposes. I was somehow disappointed as what I was wanting to witness is the actual living conditions and way of life of this tribe.
Below is the map of what other tourists termed as “Human Zoo”!
The first village was the Akha Village, the place seemed to be empty except for one soul, an elderly woman in her traditional clothes who was in the process of feeding the chickens, requested her to take a photo of her which she did not refuse.
No further communication as it seemed English language was not known to them.
As it was almost 6 PM and the dusk is starting to cover the surface of the planet at that time, I didn’t bother to see the other villages anymore and went straight to look for the Karen Tribe which was my main purpose.
Reaching the Karen Tribe, at the entrance of the village is the sight of a woman weaving at the balcony of her house where the finished products were also displayed.
Again, can not communicate with her unfortunately!
The products displayed are for sale to visitors which is part of their livelihood. According to information I got from other visitors, they were originally from Myanmar and since they do not know anything they can not get jobs from outside their community. The revenue generated from tourism is shared with them to support their living.
Walking through the village were the same houses made of bamboo and females both elderly and younger ones were sitting in front of their houses waiting for prospective buyers of their merchandise.
Girls in their young age were also wearing the rings on their necks, I felt sorry for these souls, maybe for them it is just normal since they have not experienced the outside world.
My attention was caught by this innocent boy who was crying relentlessly while I was passing by…..
Below images depicts the living conditions of these people……………………….
As reached the exit of the community, I had mixed of emotions that I am unable to describe. I can’t imagine how the females can live with these metal rings on their necks and what’s the purpose of wearing!? The sanitation in the community……the health of the people……their feelings when visitors look at them and take photos of them……one great thing that I had during those moments was gratitude. I was so grateful of my situation in life having the comfort of a decent abode, food on the table, a stable job, money on my pocket and car that brings me to places that I desire.