Myanmar is the home to some of the most special ethnic groups in the world, and the Kayan is the every outstanding group to learn. You will be surprised much the first time you meet a Kayan woman who has the “long neck” covered by the brass neck coils.

Get to Know the Kayan People in Myanmar

The Kayan people are the sub-group of the Red Karen (also called Karenni people) and the Tibeto-Burma ethnic minority native in Myanmar. Due to the antagonism from the Burmese military regime (from the late 1980s to the early 1990s), the Kayan tribe did run to Thailand. Anyhow, the Kayan people in Myanmar remains diverse, and the most notable group is the Kayan Lahwi. In general, many pictures of the Kayan Lahwi women have been taken and shared worldwide.

Around the refugee camps in the Thai border area with Myanmar, there was a Long Neck Village in Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand. It is now the exotic tourist site where many foreign tourists come to meet the long-neck women and listen to their songs or stories. Please note that this site is self-sufficient based on the tourist revenue! About the present settlement of the Kayan people in Myanmar, they are found in the Karenni State, in the southern area of Shan State, Pyinmana of Mandalay, and Than Daung Township of Karen. The visit to Kayan tribal village is quite often included in Myanmar Adventure Tours.

Meeting the Kayan long-neck people in Myanmar is the very exclusive experience to know the mystery and charm of the tradition of making the brass neck coils the jewelry. The Kayan women who have the elongated necks covered with the heavy brass rings look attractive. Besides, they are very good at wood carving and weaving. The Kayan men are the major workers. They together live the simple, monotonous, and hard-working lifestyle in both Burma and Thailand (the long-neck people are separated from most of the modern Thailand). Regardless of the living conditions, the Kayan people keep their long-standing habits alive. Therefore, a short excursion to the Kayan tribal village in Myanmar allows you to witness one of the most exotic traditions and people on this planet. 

The neck of a Kayan woman seems longer as it’s covered by the heavy brass rings; besides, their shins and arms are also “decorated” with the similar rings. This is the long tradition: each time a woman adds a ring to her neck, she is fitted with the new brass neck coiling around. Some women even have up to 25 rings on the necks. Most people follow this tradition just to protect their heritage; thus, some girls can refuse the practice of neck lengthening or just wear one or two necklets as jewelry.

Tourist Activities In Kayan Tribal Village in Myanmar

You can eagerly talk to the long-neck women, ask about their favorite brass neck coils, and listen to their songs. Besides, it’s easy to buy some exclusive goods or crafts made by the skillful local. Just communicate with the local Kayan people as they are mostly welcoming to the tourists. You only make the successful visit when you are ready to talk in the open demeanor. Remember to take some photos with the long-neck women to save the exotic experience forever. How about staying overnight in the Kayan tribal village? Consider this option if you want to witness the daily life of the Kayan group fully.

Author Profile

Hoang AnhStart working in travel industry in Vietnam from 1995, I had the great chance to learn and seeing the change as well as the development of tourism in our country. After quite long time working in different positions in some well-known international travel companies, I found that with my passion and knowledge, I can offer better value and discovery on tours in Vietnam to the travelers.