A Karen long neck tribe, known by their women with long necks, is a tourist attraction that we thought if we should address on this blog.
Still, the visit to this place allows, with a little imagination, to project what would be the lifestyle of these mountain tribes. Thats because the tourist exploitation has contaminated the way of life of these people in such a way that, what culturally remains intact and genuine is basically what attracts and monetize the influx of tourists.
You can expect a “market” village , absolutely adapted to your visit. In a Karen long neck tribe the locals, especially women, the biggest attraction of this circus, appear as if in a zoo without cages, so that you can take a good photograph. In this visit there will always be a dilemma of perspectives. Will we be exploiting these people in an unworthy manner or contributing positively to the social and economic development of their region. In the end, it will be up to each one the decision to visit or not this place.
Regardless of your decision, what you will find in this village, situated in the Mae Hong Son area, will be as we mentioned before, a village with many craft stalls, very similar to a market. However, the great highlight and what motivated the massive tourism was the tradition that involves women. From an early age, these are adding metal rings to their necks which makes them extremely long. Apparently this is what remains of the ancestral life style. Beside that, the daily life is made of tasks related to tourism.
What may be worth the trip from Chiang Mai to this region will be the Chiang Dao Cave, that stretches for miles with impressive rock formations. There, you can find several galleries with images of Buddha. Anyway we recommend that you hire a guide to avoid unnecessary risks, in an environment that is not suitable for humans.
Regarding in a Karen long neck tribe depends on the villages. In some you may have to pay to enter, in others, where they are most interested in selling handicrafts, you can enter freely. In Chiang Dao Cave the entrance costs 40 bath ($1,2 / 1,1€) and a guide costs 100 bath ($3.10 / 2,7€).
The Chiang Dao Cave is open from 8 am to 5 pm.
Location and how to get there:
There are several tribes which makes it useless to indicate a specific location. We chose to indicate the location of Chiang Dao Cave. It is approximately 75km north of Chiang Mai. You should take Route 107 and, near km 70, turn to your left, towards the foot of Dao Mountain. Turn left again, follow another 5 km and you will arrive at the car park.