South East Asia has many minority tribes. The Hill tribes in Northern Thailand are unfortunately a touristic attraction nowadays. Please show some respect to these cultures and local customs.

In Karen Hill tribe language “Pa-dong” means someone who wears brass-rings. In Western world this people are known as “long neck tribe” or “giraffe women”. The people itself prefer to be called Ka-Yan, because they originate from Burma’s Northern Highland state Ka-Ya. Now there are only 7000 Ka-Yan people left, living along the Thai and Burma border in three villages around the province of Mae Hong Son.

One of the Myths about this culture is that the headman of the tribe had a dream in which a tiger was going to kill one of the most popular children in his village. As tigers always kill their victims by breaking their necks, the headman ordered a decreed that all children from an early age must wear heavy brass rings round their necks tot protect from imminent danger and evil spirits.

According to their culture, wearing brass neck rings symbolizes a beautiful form of body adornment. Girls start with their first nine rings as early as five years of age and new sets are substituted every four years on nine separate occasions. The last change occurs when a women is forty-five years old. The weight and number of rings depends much on each wearer’s individual choice. The longest recorded is 32 rings weighing 15 kilos. The weight of the coils pushes the necks and shoulder muscles deep into the shoulders. This creates the illusion of a longer neck. It is in fact the lower body which has been shaped into the appearance of a longer neck. Courtesy of

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