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“VERY mixed feelings”

Union Hilltribe Villages
Ranked #17 of 32 Tours in Chiang Rai
Attraction details
Reviewed 4 December 2013

We arrived here late in the day with our driver. My husband paid the entrance and I didn't discover until after we left it had been 500 baht each. I have no idea how much if any went to the tribes.

I am 76 and was exhausted at the end of a very long day so I was not as observant as usual. I was beyond exhausted. The land is very rough, hilly , and uneven. We were the only visitors at the time and so things were probably less staged.

I immediately wondered what we had walked into. We were told there would be no men and I was too tired to digest the reason. There was a scale at the entry with one of the "necklaces" /coils worn by the "long neck Karen tipping the scale at 4.5 pounds. The explanation was that they had been worn to protect the women from animals that grabbed the skin. These women seemed unused to them and had napkins tucked in around the top to protect their necks.

The first village consisted of shacks blocked by a kiosk with a woman welling jewelry and woven items. One after the other end to end the same display and the same items. It was for tourists and I hd no way of knowing if buying would help the people

I agree it did not seem that they lived there. I only visited 2 villages as I was too physically exhausted. BTW every person was offered a bamboo walking stick at the beginning and the terrain warranted that.

When we turned to retrace our steps rather than continue the circuit as I couldn't go further, they were upset and tried to tell us we were going the wrong way but when I indicated I was hurting they smiled and nodded.

You definitely don't see the "life" of the village. The young girls wearing the heavy neck coils look really uncomfortable. The little girl weaving likewise seemed poised.

Our best moment was when a young mother let her baby crawl away playfully and we laughed along with her in a moment of genuine contact.

You will see some of this in the pictures i am posting.

I would suggest more research than we did before adding this to a trip to the Golden Triangle and other area sites.

4  Thank jroihl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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35 - 39 of 72 reviews

Reviewed 9 June 2013

We were very uncomfortable visiting this attraction.

This place has obviously been set up for tourists as you have all these huts within a few metres of each other accommodating supposedly different tribes.

As you approach each different tribe they try and sell you some displayed handy craft.

One tribe put on a show for us but no-one was smiling.

You feel like a voyeur as you pass each hut.

The Karen (long-neck) women have beautiful features and seemed less interested in trying to sell us anything however the real issue is that it seems these people are trapped here (economically).

We paid 600 Baht for both of us to enter and at that point I asked if the money went to the tribes.....the answer was 'yes'. I sincerely hope it does but somehow I doubt it.

2  Thank Mackasx2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2013

Its terrible here and looks like another tourist scam clubbed with the Golden Triangle. The ladies with long neck dont seem to get any cut out of the money paid by tourists. Even the so-called "village" seems fake. Do yourselves a favor by not visiting here. I travelled from Chiang Mai all the way here and Golden triangle - A big disappointment and waste of time and energy.

1  Thank DRD143
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2012

Not very impressed, though we did enjoy learning a little bit about hill tribe life as it used to be. It would be nice to see something unspoiled by tourism and money. We've done worse but we hope to do better.

1  Thank MohammedElA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 December 2012

What a false, acting experience this is. Just a routine that the people go through to get tourists to part with money. The expressions on the faces tell a good story. We were very disappointed with this 'attraction' and would advise others to think carefully before visiting. It would appear that there is a 'behind the scenes' life to the people here with motorbikes and cars, pickups coming and going so I don't think that life in the hilltribe is too bad. The singing and dancing was painful to watch/hear and the 'actors' appeared to be bored senseless having to go through the same routine the thousandth time over. Shalln't be returning here and can't recommend this.

6  Thank KLworker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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