Karen Hilltribe

The Karen are one of the many hilltribes in northern Thailand are commonly referred to as the "Long Neck Tribe" for their elaborate and permanent neck jewelry. The Karen Women wear rings of brass that do not in fact elongate their necks, but rather compress their rib cages giving the effect of an elongated neck. Young girls start by adding a few rings per year until they reach as many rings as their neck can support. The rings are only taken off, with the help of other women to support the neck, to wash their necks on occasion. The Karen, once a strong and powerful tribe in the hills of Burma, are now refugees from the oppressive government of Myanmar (formerly Burma) in Thailand. I visited Mee Hong San in February of 1998 during a five week backpacking trip of Thailand. I was on winter break from Dongguk University in Seoul.

Photos of the Karen

Jim Thompson's traditional home

Jim Thompson was an American who spent many years in Thailand and is credited with helping to restore the reputation of Thai silk as the best in the world. He so adored the lifestyle in Thailand that he built his home in the traditional style and lived much of his life there. As with progress and modernization in many cities, traditional homes are often destroyed to make room for modern buildings. Jim Thompson's house remains today as a wonderful and rare example of Thai architechture in the mass of modern metal in Bangkok. Jim Thompson disappeared on a hunting expedition in Malaysia in 1967. I visited the Jim Thompson House in February 1998 during a few days in Bangkok with some Canadian English teachers and a Norwegian friend.

To see more about Jim Thompson's facinating life check out The Jim Thompson House