Longneck Karen Village

Longneck Karen Village, Chiang Rai: Address, Phone Number, Longneck Karen Village Reviews: 3.5/5

Longneck Karen Village
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413 reviews
Very good

Arne W
Mosjoen, Norway10 contributions
Jan 2020
Hill tribe people localized in a common area to show their products and their way of living for tourists. A bit sad to see some of them dancing and playing without enthusiasm, but interesting to see handicraft production and of course the "long neck" ladies with neck and/or leg rings. It is a way of living for them - having income from the entrance fees and selling scarfs and other handicrafts, so in that way it seems OK to visit - and interesting if you have a good guide to tell you facts about their background!
Written February 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Washington15,461 contributions
Aug 2019 • Friends
My friend and I went to the tribal village but we refused to pay 300 baht each to go in and take pictures with the long neck tribe. I feel for them. This is because in my country we also have native tribes and visitors travelled into our jungles and ‘visit’ their villages to take pictures with them. It is their lives and homes that visitors intrude. They are kind and nice to visitors but I know it is not easy to have continuous intrusion of foreigners in your homes. So in this long neck tribal village, my friend and I were happy enough to just visit their stalls and buy some souvenirs from them. Seeing their hard life remind us of our own indigenous tribes at home.
Written August 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Yekaterinburg, Russia64,088 contributions
Oct 2019
I've seen the long-neck ladies before. It is unique in the world, but I feel sorry for the pain the women go through for the purpose of pleasing the men, and essentially working to be a tourist attraction.
Written October 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mark M
Jalisco, Mexico272 contributions
Jan 2020
Don't go.

We went here on a tour of 8 different sites near Chiang Rai, and were concerned about human zoo argument. We were leaning that way but decided if the village benefited from the entrance fee, it was OK, we were basically making "a donation". After doing that, and visiting the Hilltribe Museum in CR, I wish we had not, But there you are. We did not learn anything about their culture, aside from how often they rebuild their houses due to wear and tear, and the basic facts about the bronze neck rings. It is a small market of outdoor shops, and the sell from many vendors is pretty hard. The zoo comment seems right. The CR museum said that the whole thing was started by a farang who initially brought the women in from Burma as a tourist attraction. They also said some of the people there are not Karen. The net is you really don't learn anything, don't add to any cultural edification and on top of that feel guilty.
Written January 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Zhangjiagang, China212 contributions
Jan 2020
Reading the reviews, I can understand now their dislike of this place. I have been to the ethnic village in Chiang Mai, and this place was nothing like it. Everything in Chiang Rai is a poor man's Chiang Mai. I never felt like this was a human zoo, like many of the reviews mentioned. Instead, I just felt it was a tourist trap. The women of the village were all very nice and I have many great discussions with them. This place, as with all of the tourist places in Chiang Rai would benefit from a professional tourism planning commission to make these place more acceptable. 300 bht per person is quite expensive to walk through a market where you seem the same products at each stall. There is no historical or cultural value to this place. No information, no guides, nothing to seperate this from a tourist trap marketplace.
Written January 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Elizabeth A
10 contributions
Apr 2019
The Karen people are truly welcoming without tapping too hard into the tourism aspects of trying to make a living in this remote part of the world. The village is genuine, the cultural exhibits are legitimate and the market stalls are beautiful. I would recommend purchasing items from them since this is how they make a living, and the items are lovely - hand woven scarves, bamboo cups. What I loved the most is how happy they are to share their space with us!
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Marina G
Manchester, UK8 contributions
Jul 2017 • Couples
Me and my boyfriend have made mistake of visiting this place and we would like to warn you not to make the same mistake. Visiting this place we felt uncomfortable and as many others mention in their reviews we had the feeling that something was not right. Unfortunately, we did more research only after visiting this place. These villages are not genuine Karen villages but artificial residencies where these hill tribe people receive work permits to make a living. The people inhabiting these villages are not Thai but Burmese refugees who fled Burma during the civil conflict in 1980s. They don't have Thai citizenship and Thai authorities refused to allow them to resettle outside of these tourist villages claiming that they are economic migrants and not real refugees. So these people are bound to stay in these villages. They receive a bundle of handicrafts to sell and they receive their food and toiletries in exchange for sales of these handicrafts. They cannot even farm as they don't have the right to. I can go on and on but you can simply dig deeper and read about the history and current situation of these tribes. Please don't be as ignorant as us. We did feel bad for these people when visiting this place and our bad suspicion led us to do more research. You can still find genuine hill tribe villages in Myanmar, however these ones around Chiang Rai are a Thai made travesty. Just image, if these Burmese refugees were brought to Bangkok where a village would be built for tourists to visit for a fee to see "how these people live" and take photos, it would cause international outrange and would be called a human zoo. Just because it is done in Chiang Rai tourists believe this villages are genuine. We ask you again, do your research please.
Written July 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

London, UK1,477 contributions
Sep 2017 • Couples
I first visited a Long Neck Padaung tribe in Chiang Rai Province nearly 20 years ago. At that time it was quite an adventure to reach them. You had to take a long boat ride for about an hour from Chiang Rai city and then pay an exhorbitant fee of 600 Baht to enter the village and visit them. You could freely take pictures but there was an additional charge if you wanted to use a video camera.

20 years on and visiting them has become much easier. All you need to do now is take a taxi from Chiang Rai for a drive of about 30 minutes to their village and then pay a fee of 300 Baht to enter the village.

I have visited Long Neck Padaung people since in Mae Hong Son Province in Thailand and at Inle Lake in Myanmar (Burma) and I admit to being fascinated by their uniqueness and exotic quality. In all these locations the women are also exhibited almost exclusively to allow tourists to photograph them.

That the Long Neck Padaung are being exploited is obvious and raises the ethical question whether tourists should pay the 300 Baht to visit them or not.

The options for these people seem to be either being exploited in Thailand or persecuted by the fascist military in Myanmar. They reallly are stuck between a "rock and a hard place." Full integration into Thai society would appear difficult while they continue to wear the rings although the Thai government could and probably should grant them full Thai citizenship and allow them to live and work freely within their communities. Presently, their human rights are practically non existant.

The long neck women that we met were of various ages and were very friendly. Some spoke a little English and spoke of their family still in Myanmar.

They are very obliging in allowing their photos to be taken and showing examples of the heavy brass coils they wear around their necks. In fact they are so keen to please the tourists that you wonder whether that they are under strict orders from their Thai "masters" to please the tourists and let them take all the photos and videos that they desire.

The entrance fee to enter the village is 300 Baht. How much of this actually goes to the Padaung themselves is anybody's guess but one suspects that their Thai "masters" keep the lion's share.

Visiting the Padaung village is a sureal experience and does feel like a bit of a circus or visiting a human zoo. What was surprising, however, was that there was no heavy pressure or hard sell to buy the handicrafts displayed on their stalls. In fact, the women appeared very docile and passive. We did buy some small pieces of handicrafts to help support them and they seemed happy to achieve some sales.

On balance, I think it is a good idea to visit these people and provide them with some income as long as visitors show them proper respect and take discreet photos rather than continually pointing a camera / video lens at them. It would appear that on balance they prefer living in Thailand to the alternatiive of persecution in Myanmar.

These people really are stuck between a "rock and a hard place."
Written September 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mississauga, Canada150 contributions
May 2016
I ended up here on my tour and it was a sad place. There's something odd about coming here to view other humans as a spectacle. It felt to me, like a very marketed activity, gawk at the people, buy their trinkets as they are poor. I did not have a good feeling about any of this. Even worse, the newspaper yesterday had a report of human trafficking to this village--a villager being trafficked from Myanmar into this village for tourist entertainment. Please do not support this kind of activity.
Written May 13, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Taipei, Taiwan1,451 contributions
Nov 2016 • Solo
The Long Neck Village (Refugee Camp) of the Karen People, Chiang Rai Thailand. Human Zoo? Human rights violation? Or a story that needs to be told? When I asked my guide about the long neck people it started a long discussion and something that is not often talked about in public in Thailand. There is a human side that I failed to think about clearly and deeply. These people in Thailand are technically refugees and live in a refugee camp. They escaped the war and Myanmar about six years ago but are not allowed by the Thai government to become citizens. The women are not permitted to go into the city without special permission from the government. And if they are allowed they have to cover their necks, ears, legs, or wherever they look different. And many of the children in this village are unable to be educated outside. The topic of these refugees is a subject that needs to be discussed by the local authorities in Thailand. The Thai government seems not to know what to do with them. Every time they try to make an agreement with Myanmar it appears that the Myanmar government fails every time to follow through with their promises to take them back. However, when I started to ask these women in the village where they would prefer to live all of them responded revealingly that they wanted to stay in Thailand. They are quite happy there and many of them do not want to return to Myanmar. A lot of their homes have been destroyed during the war. So they feel happy and comfortable and Thailand even though they have few rights in Thailand. The reason I bring up the subject of a human Zoo because their "camp" has become a tourist attraction that one must pay to enter. But for these people they feel happy that tourists are interested in them because it means that they have money to eat and to live and to continue to live in Thailand. The more tourists the better. I have refused to engage in animal tourism on similar grounds of a violation of animal rights. I have mixed feelings about this place becoming a tourist attraction however if the money tourists spend really go to keeping this refugee camp alive and the people living there seem not to care too much about that then I sort of see no harm in it, however when big tourist groups come in I find it questionable. When they approach the women in groups it appears to be just like a zoo for them, I find it unacceptable. If you visit here perhaps you could appreciate the differences in cultures and problems that refugees might face. It is difficult to compare these Burmese people to the Syrian refugees simply based on the sheer number of them. And of course the links to terrorism, but that's a whole other story. By the way, the women and girls here were very happy to have their photos taken, but you should be polite and not intrusive, be respectful. There was no issue and no one refused.
Written September 16, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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