12.23.2013

Chiang Rai, Thailand and the Hilltribes

While in Chiang Rai, we visited the Hill Tribes.  These villages are made up of the Yao, Lahu, Akha, and Long Neck Karen tribes.  The most fascinating of these tribes, to me, were the Long Neck Karen tribe.  As very young girls, they get their first coils put around their neck, each year having them cut off and getting a new one with an additional coil.  These coils can weigh up to 30 pounds.  They don't necessarily make their necks longer, they just push their shoulders down.  You ask "why?"  One myth is that long ago tigers would grab them by the neck and take them away.  This coil was used to protect them from the tigers.
The woman below has the largest brass coil of all of the tribe members.
And the little girl below is probably the youngest to wear the brass neckless.