Visit Karen Long Neck Village

Tambon Mae Raem, Thailand


Added by John Maurizi

A unique cultural experience learning about the Karen Long Neck hill tribe. This is a more seldom visited location from the more advertised cultural parks.

During my tour to Chiang Rai and north tea plantations, my guide also took me to a Karen Long Neck village.  This, for the most part is a tourist attraction/trap and set up strictly for tourists. The Karen people are a tribal group throughout northern Thailand and Myanmar.  The tribe is known for the women who place brass rings around their neck. Over time, this stretches out the neck.  My guide informed me that these days, the practice is done more to attract tourist than it is done for tradition.

Amongst this "village" is many stalls for selling souvenirs, much of which was not made in the village.  What is made in the village is the colorful scarves.  Nearly each stall has a young Long Neck lady working a shuttle to make the scarves.  You are encouraged to take photos but this made me very uncomfortable.  Even when I asked for permission to take photos, my guide said, "no problem, that is what they are here for."  It really takes away from the experience.

The village was interesting to see.  The people are very friendly but I felt obligated to purchase some souvenirs.  I would say this is a must see because of it's unique attraction and the people are so friendly, it was an experience I will not forget.  However, what a guide will take you to is a tourist village. I would have preferred a real mountain village where people were going about their daily life.  My guide called this village Baan Mae Koue Tom Ta Sood.  See the pin drop for the exact location. 

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