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Ten and Uncle Ben Trekking Hill Tribe People

Northern Thailand is home to a number of ethnic groups, known collectively as Hill Tribes, including Karen, Lahu, Hmong, Lisu, Akha, Yao and Shan. Many visitors to Thailand include a trip or trek to the mountains villages where the Hill Tribes live. If you come trekking with Ten and Ben then you will certainly pass through and sleep in some of the villages. Ten and Ben can speak some of the local dialects and will be able to tell you about the people.


Some do's and don'ts

  • Dress modestly and avoid overt displays of affection

  • Respect national, cultural and religious symbols or objects

  • Avoid loud or agressive behaviour

  • Ask before taking photos and be quick and polite

  • Be aware that living conditions are more basic in the villages, remember to show respect and appreciation for the hosptiality you recieve


It's also worth considerimng that the villages are 'real' with people going about their daily business as you'd find elsewhere in Thailand. The people are not from another time, they live in the here and now. Many people will be wearing traditonal dress, although not all and it's common for everyone to be working on the farms, as they practice subsistence farming.


You may find different hill tribes living side by side in the same village, all getting on with life quite happily. Some people in the region left Burma over the last 20 years and relocate in Northern Thailand, especially around Mae Hong Son. Many do not have Thai citizenship and don't speak Thai, so they often have less access to good jobs and opportunities.


In the Long Neck villages, you will be charged an entry fee (about 250 Baht). It's worth asking where this money goes. Often the money doesn't go to the people themselves, but to the business men running the tourist operation. A good way to ensure some money goes to people directly is to buy small handicrafts or items in the village.


For more information about the Hill Tribes in Thailand see the links below:







Call Ben: 081 1639 623 (English). Call Ten: 084 610 9057 (Thai) Email:hello@tenandbentrekking.com


The Karen People

Karen PeopleThe Karen people originate from Burma and their are approx 300,00 Karen in Thailand. There are Red, White, Pwo Karen and the most famous Padoung Karen or 'Long Neck' people. The women traditionally wear many tight bronze rings around their necks.

The Karen are known to be the best Mahouts (elephant handlers) and are an exceptionally warm, friendly group of people.


The Hmong People

Originating in China, the Hmong people have the looks and traits of the Chinese. They can seem cautious and cool at first, however they are very hospitable, with approx 70,000 poeple living in Thailand.


Hmong girls in traditional dressHmong women can been seen selling their beautiful handicrafts and colourful clothing at markets around northern Thailand, and this is proving to be a good business for them.