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Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

Brisbane, Australia
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Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

I know some people object visiting them..., however where exactly is Karen Long Neck hill tribe? Is there only one? They seems to be included as part of Chiang Rai 1-day tour from Chiang Mai, combo with elephant safari tour, combo with Chiangdao cave or as a stand along tour (with Big Ear - BTW, where is Big Ear?)...

Also, how does Chiangdao cave compare with, say Jenolan Caves near Sydney?

Thanks,

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

Ok. The Karen are not Thai. They are refugees from Myamar. There are no real Karen villages in Thailand. They are not allowed to work in jobs that can be done by Thais. So they set up Tourist sites where they can sell what they make to make some income. The 'Big Ear' are so called because of earrings which are inserted into earlobes to stretch them. There is a "village where you can visit both groups in the Mae Hong Son loop where there are also Lisu or up near the border near Chiang Rai. (Bit sadder there.) Neither of these are a one day tour from Chiang Mai. You could fly to Mae Hong song and get driven there but I would recommend you at least stay one night there as there is much to see. the caves are not like the Jenolan caves. Unless you are a cave addict, don't bother.

From Chiang Mai you can visit Hmong and Akha villages as day trips.

The Karen do not have long necks. The rings depress the collar bones and cause pain and discomfort which is why people have a problem with the tourists as it encourages them to continue the practise with young girls.

anyway its a difficult one as they rely on the income.

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

Thanks for the insights. I will keep these in mind.

Australia
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3. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

I visited as part of a day long tour which included other tourist attractions, and to be truthful, regretted it. Maybe the adult females had a choice in wearing the rings, but the children certainly dont, they are far too young to give informed consent.

It was like visiting the freak show at the circus, totally false environment, and we were told that these women come to Chaing Mai just to work in this show village. I saw a toddler girl get quite upset at having her photo taken, she was obviously over it.

I'm surprised that the authorities dont step in and stop this child cruelty, ,mind you I wasnt too impressed with the elephant camp either , especially after watching the movie Water For Elephants.

I wont be visiting these tourist traps again when I return to Chaing Mai, my conscience wouldnt allow it.

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

If you plan to go to Chiang Rai, I would highly recommend you to visit the PDA hill tribe museum there. It tells you everything about the different tribes. and they also do tours too. I would go with them as they are a well-known Thai NGO that supports local development projects. They don't do trips to see the Karen refugee camps for the reasons already discussed. http://www.pdacr.org/

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

The Karen and other refugee groups do not have it easy. If your conscience really bothers you and you wish to do something to help that doesn't involve compounding the problem you can donate to groups who are actively trying to assist them. Then the girls may have a real choice about their futures.

Those who have escaped from Burma, also known as Myanmar, are in many respects a special case: They have fled a military regime that the Bush administration had singled out as one of the most brutal in the world. A cyclone in May killed at least 85,000 people and sent even more Burmese streaming across the border into Thailand, where there are about 100,000 refugees packed into nine camps.

There are many NGO's that are working to provide education, etc. A simple web search will point the way.

Brisbane
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6. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

I visited the village at Chiang Rai on a day trip from Chiang Mai, I must admit I felt uncomfortable while there but as stated previously they have no other way of generating income so at least there's some income and they are actually living in this "made up" village so they are somewhat safer than in camps, the village has a school and electricity and scooters parked under the huts.

They seem very lovely people and it's not for me to judge their centuries long traditions or point fingers of child abuse, it's what they know and I'm sure people can point fingers at some aspects of our society.

Colorado
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for Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai Province
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7. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

There is not a long neck Karen tribe in Chiang Rai. The long neck tribe is approximately 1.5 hours from Chiang Rai. You can visit it in a day trip from Chiang Mai.

Like many curious tourists, I too visited the long neck tribe on one of my first trips to the north. Others above have provided a variety of views on doing so. I wouldn't choose to do it again.

Broder

Brisbane
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8. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

Like I said in my post, it's a made up village, they aren't actually from their, just relocated for the tourists although they do actually live in a "made up" village.

And it was definately Chiang Rai, out of town towards the university, turn right and drive approx 15 minutes.

London, United...
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9. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

There are a few karen long-neck ',odel villages' dotted around the Chiang Mai area. There is one close the Chiang Rai on the road from Chiang Rai going north towards Mae Chan (there is a board taking you a couple of kilometres in through a dirt track on your left). As has been said before, it is a very sad experience to see these made up villages where you get charged to enter and gawp and girls wearing traditional clothing and rings in their necks. Men seem to have a peripheral role (entrance fees and guarding the women).

Here is my report from my trip - …wordpress.com/2011/…

Shelley

10. Re: Where is Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe? Chiangdao Cave vs...

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