Paying my visit to one of the numerous Karen Long Neck villages in Northern Thailand is one of the most exotic experiences that I ever had in my entire traveling life. I am wondering what are the mystery and story behind the use of heavy rings on their neck. To find out, I joined in a local tour to get in touch with these locals.
Who are the Karen People?
The Karen are a tribal group who historically lived in the hills on the Myanmar side of the Thai border. They are famous for their long necks as the women wear heavy rings around their neck, which makes them well-known Giraffe neck. Although they might have a long neck, but I personally find that most of the woman in the tribe are pretty! But sadly, you can’t date them as they are not allow to married another man from different tribe or country.
Why would they wear a brass ring on their neck?
Well, it may seems heavy (around 5kg) to all of us but not for them. As I visit their tribe, the local guides explained to us why Karen Long Neck Tribe wear a brass ring on their neck. Of course, one of the reasons we would have guess correctly is the beauty. Beauty comes in many forms of shape and size. Wearing the brass ring around their neck might be as pretty as you put a necklace on your neck.
Another reason is according to legend, a young girl had a dream of being attacked by a tiger and bite her neck. Her parents worried about that and talked to chief. The chief stated that the young girl is not attack by a tiger but demons. Since than, the chief implemented a rule that all girls / woman must wear a ring around their neck to protect the demon from attacking. Sounds legit?
What amaze me about Karen Long Neck Tribe?
There are a few things which amaze me. One of it is that they are the friendliest tribe I ever seen. Although it may seems like you’re visiting in Human Zoo or tourist trap, but I found that the Karen Long Neck tribe people are friendly. You can talk to them, sit with them while watching them weaving. Besides, I was surprise Karen Long Neck Tribe knows how to speak a little Chinese – perhaps this is one of the strategy to lock the Chinese tourists.
Recommended or Unethical?
It seems like it’s unethical as like you’re visiting a human zoo, but I would still recommend you to at least pay a visit to one of the numerous Karen Long Neck Tribe in Northern Thailand. It is like a real life National Geographic Magazine to have to see to believe. Trust me, this one kind of an experience that you wouldn’t want to miss. Of course, if you would like to take a picture with them – at least support them but buying one of their products. Might little expensive but this is their only source of income.