Hill Tribes in Thailand

Karen Long Neck Bride—Baan Tong Luang
Karen Long Neck Bride—Baan Tong Luang


When you are in Northern Thailand, a very beautiful part of the country (as much as anything because of the graciousness of its people), a most interesting thing to do is to visit Baan Tong Luang, a small community of Hill Tribe Villages. They include the Karen long neck people and other tribes: Lalu Shi Bala, Pa long, Hmong, Kayaw, Yao and Akha.

These tribal people originated in China, Mongolia, or Tibet and migrated from Myanmar, Laos or Vietnam to their present location in Baan Tong Luang, an approximate 12 kilometer drive from Chiang Mai. If you are “game for it,” you ride by elephant to the Hill Tribe Villages from Maesa Elephant Camp and walk to Baan Tong Luang right at the end of an adventurous trek through the jungle.

The Hill Tribe Villagers have preserved their traditional culture for centuries. The women weave their beautiful clothing or farm. The men often work to train, care for, or guide the elephants. The village people are Christians but also believe in night spirits and ghosts. They are very friendly to tourists, as you can see from the photos they were happy for me to take. I only wish that I had brought a polaroid camera to give them a copy of the pics, especially for the beautiful kids.

All the best,

Warren J. Devalier


Interface Inc.


entrance to a hill tribe village


bucolic village landscape


village sculpture to ward off evil spirits; there is also a bit of Freudian reference here (coital)


fishing in a rice paddy


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