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Tribes of Northern Thailand

Listed under Traditional Cultures in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Over the last two centuries northern Thailand has become home to many hill - tribal minority groups migrating across the vast mountainous border between China, Myanmar and Laos. Political and economic unrest has bought these people here with many having harrowing stories to tell of perilous journeys made by families to reach Thailand with the majority settling into the remote hills of northern Thailand.

There establishing communities based on traditional agricultural practices that have hardly changed over a thousand years. Instantly recognisable from local Thai communities by their colourful costumes and an unique way of life of animism and spiritualism religious beliefs, unique cultures, traditional customs and lifestyles.

They are a proud hard working people whom we can learn many valuable ' Life lessons'. Their knowledge to a more simple, sustainable existence by their beliefs, sense of community and organic farming practices to be at peace and in harmony with our planet.

Written by  Caroline Marsh.

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Karen Hilltribe in Thailand and Myanmar

The Karen people make up the largest of the South East Asian hill tribes and are spread throughout Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). The large size of their population has helped the Karen stick together and maintain their traditional culture. Karens practiced slash and burn farming but are now settled and have worked hard to develop environmentally sustainable rice-farming methods.

The Karen, made up of smaller sub-groups including the Sgaws (S'waw) and the Pwos, are known for their colorful and decorated clothing, made from their beautiful, handwoven fabrics. Patterns or shapes woven into the fabrics can represent certain objects or concepts, while some colours are symbolic of the wearer's attributes.

The Karen have a rich and long-standing heritage which has thrived, despite ongoing conflict with Burmese military forces. Karens have adapted to modern ways of farming and living without loosing sight of their history. Join a hilltribe tour in Thailand to learn more about this culture.

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