Visiting a Hill Tribe in Thailand
Visiting the Hill Tribes in Thailand is an incredibly interesting and colourful experience. However, whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, upon reflection I also had mixed emotions and unanswered questions.
Does opening the Hill Tribes up to visitors taint or ruin their traditional values? or does it provide much needed income and allow self sufficiency through sales of hand made items? Are we slowly killing their unique culture by exposing them to outside influences? or is this just called progress?
“The men used to have many wives”, our guide informs me. We were visiting the Karen Long Neck Village on a tour from my favourite city in Thailand, Chiang Rai.
“They would marry young, and it wasn’t uncommon to have 15 or so children. In recent years, they have been encouraged to take just one wife, as too many children were being born with little resources to support them.”
I am also told that the women work much harder than the men, often carrying an extremely heavy basket on their back up and down the mountains all day. I witness a beautiful newborn baby being carried in a basket on mum’s back and I am inspired by the strength of these dainty women.
Visiting the Hill Tribes is a once in a lifetime experience. I still have a handmade scarf that I purchased from our first visit nearly nine years ago. It is worn every Winter here in Australia and even after the rough housing it has received from my two kids, it is still in great condition which is a testament to the workmanship.
Check out some of my photos below of the Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand:
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