Coming to Chiang Mai, visitors not only visit Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep located on the slope of Mount Suthep at the height of 1.073m, Wat Chedi Luang with unique architecture of the Lanna dynasty and North Thai art, Mae Sa elephant camp, Chiang Mai Zoo – home to more than 200 species of mammals, birds from Asia and Africa … but you also visit a unique “village” of the Karen long neck village. People call this place as Karen long neck village (also known as Mae Rim village, Karen village, Karen village Chiang Mai, Karen village Thailand, Karen long neck village Chiang Mai). Now, let’s check it out.
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History of Karen Long Neck Village Chiang Mai
Karen Long Neck Village is located in a valley built by the Thai government to attract tourists to get northern Thailand. In this village, visitors will be able to visit, learn about the life, culture, and customs of the Karen long neck tribe, you can meet girls wearing metal rings wrapped around the neck, hands, the knees and legs.
Karen was a tribe of Burmese origin but around the 1980s and 1990s, they were chased and rushed to Chiang Mai to settle. Although they have migrated to this place for two decades, they still maintain their own culture as matriarchy and long necks for all the girls in the village.
When the girls are 5 years old, they begin to wear a copper necklace around their neck, the number of rings will increase every four years of 1 time and they are attached with the girls until the end of their lives. The rings are worn over each other, making the neck of the girls longer and longer. Once worn around the neck, the girls will not remove the ring anymore. Some women have a neck up to 25cm, with more than 20 necklaces, weighing several kilograms.
According to the conception of long neck villagers Karen, the woman has a longer neck; she is more beautiful neck and the necklace show wealth, happiness. In addition to wearing a necklace, if the family has conditions, about 10 years old, the girls also wear the anklet. The more necklaces around the girl, the more beautiful and attractive!
How to get to The Karen Village Chiang Mai
Karen Long Neck Village is located close to the border between Thailand and Myanmar. This place is about 180 km from Chiang Mai, about 30 km from Chiang Rai city, quietly behind the 1019 highway.
From Chiang Mai, guests can use vehicles such as tuk-tuk/songthaew, taxi, car rental or even rent motorbikes to get the Karen village. When renting any kind of vehicle, you should negotiate the price first because the driver here knows how to scream the price very high with the visitors and still quite haughty. In addition, travelers cannot travel by motorbike without an international driver’s license.
Experiences in Karen Long Neck Village
A ticket to visit Karen Long Neck Village is about 500 Bath (equivalent to 16 dollars). Much of this revenue is collected by the government to support the lives of the people in the village.
The first and most interesting thing to attract your attention is to count the number of rings on the neck of the women. The more the necklace, the woman is more years old.
In this ancient village, there are many stalls selling souvenirs. Visitors can find many types of brocade, scarves, bracelets, necklace … suitable for the dusty and wild style here. Most women will look and sell in these stores because men go to work far places. Also, seeing the last men in this village are making jewelry is a much more enjoyable experience. You will understand that jewelry processing will go through stages and how the drawing of the pattern takes much time and effort!
Surely you understand the patriarchy! Thus, understanding the matriarchy will not be difficult. The matriarchal in Karen’s ancient village as well as other matrilineal villages, the inalienable man in the family, daily housekeeping for the women then cook, wash and take care of the children, house…
If you have the opportunity to visit this unique village, do not hesitate to take a photo with the women here. Certainly, Karen’s long neck village will bring unforgettable memories.
Karen Long Neck Village Chiang Mai
Address: Baan Tong Luang | Mae Raem, Mae Rim 50180, Thailand
Entrance fee: It cost 600 baht return for the boat and 250 baht per person to enter the village.
Are you looking for more Chiang Mai travel guide and top things to do in Chiang Mai? Let’s read: Chiang Mai travel blog — The fullest Chiang Mai travel guide for a great trip to the “Rose of the North” of Thailand.