Photographs, Thailand

Hill Tribe Visit in Northern Thailand

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.

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“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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This lady showed me her large ear plugs by taking them out and placing them in my hand!
hill tribe thailand
Not sure what this guy is smoking …….
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All of the young girls are beautiful and I still cherish the scarf that I bought here
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As they grow, more rings are added. They are not light either!
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The heavy rings push down constantly onto the collarbone causing deformity of the collar bone. This deformity is what gives the appearance of a long neck

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hill tribe thailand
A Hill Tribe woman with her baby covered up in a basket
hill tribe thailand
This little cutie was happy, I promise! I just snapped the camera at the wrong instant.
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There is nothing more beautiful that watching the innocence of young kids
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Not many of the villagers speak English 
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We were proudly shown this new little addition to the family whom was worn on a basket on mum’s back
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I did ask our guide about the interesting symbolism at this gateway however was told it was for ‘private ceremony’. I would have loved to have learnt more about this!
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I’m fascinated by the way that different cultures carry their young children
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These rings apparently weight around 12 kg each
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Beautiful child of the Hill Tribe Village

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