Karen Tribe Village: A Journey into Indigenous Culture in Chiang Rai423
BY The Bear Travelers

Karen Tribe Village: A Journey into Indigenous Culture in Chiang Rai

A trip to the Karen Tribe Village in Chiang Rai is one of Northern Thailand's most unusual and memorable experiences. 

In the Karen Tribe Village, you will have an opportunity to meet Karen women. They wear brass rings around their necks as part of their tradition for a gorgeous and different ethnicity. You will see how they work with a backstrap loom and practice their outstanding weaving mastery.

Long Neck Karen Woman in Hill Tribe Villages Chiang Rai Province Thailand

It will be best to explore the village respectfully and get a slice of Karen culture and their way of life. You can also help these locals by obtaining souvenirs and traditional Karen fabrics.

Visiting one of the numerous Karen tribe villages in Thailand might be one of the most exciting and exotic experiences you've ever had. So come along and explore the Karen tribe village in Chiang Rai and make your tour worthwhile in Northern Thailand.


The Bear Travel  Fun Fact!

If you want to feel truly satisfied visiting the Karen tribe villages, an hour of walking through the town won't cut it, and you should consider staying overnight. 



Who are the Karen People?

Karen Long Neck Villages in Chiang Rai Province of North Thailand

The Karen are a tribal group who historically lived in the hills of Myanmar (formerly Burma) side of the Thai border. Best known for their elongated necks, the Karen women wear brass rings around their necks, forearms, and shins. While the Karen men are mainly field workers and farmers, the women have a prosperous history of crafting, from wood carving to weaving. Overall, the Long Neck Tribes live a complicated, monotonous, and simple lifestyle. Still, the fruits of their labor are colorful and very cheerful.

There are still around 40,000 Karen members today. But due to political violence, thousands have fled Burma over the decades. Fleeing in Thailand was a very comfortable selection for many. Still, the ones that came are mainly illegal immigrants and do not have choices for gaining Thai citizenship. Meanwhile, things are much better for the Karen that have left Burma. However, the lack of chance to gain citizenship has restricted these ethnic groups to small pockets separate from most of modern Thailand.

While it may seem that the Karen women rarely have long necks, their traditional brass rings push down on their shoulders and rib cages, making their necks seem longer. The brass rings around their shins and arms are made of one solid piece of metal, making them quite heavy. The Karen women primarily put themselves through the neck lengthening routine because it's part of their tradition.


The Bear Travel  Trivia!

While the main tourist draws among the Hill Tribes of Thailand are the Karen Long Necks, there are also many other groups with their heritage. Some other groups have lived in Thailand for centuries, including the Big Earring (Akha), Yao, Palong, Kayor, and Hmong (Meo).



A Glimpse into the Karen Tribe Village

Northern Thailand Tribe Villages

Today, Chiang Rai is well known for its hill tribes, Mae Sai, the Golden Triangle, and Chiang Saen town. The site of our eco attractions, "Union of Hill Tribe Villages and Long Neck Karen," is built at the top of the hills and in a style therefore unknown in Chiang Rai.

Chiang Rai is the northernmost province of Siam. The Golden Triangle of the North contains the boundaries of Thailand-Myanmar-Laos, with only a river unlocking the border. For this reason, Chiang Rai is another province home to many ethnic hill tribes. 

Until now, there are many tribal villages spread in Chiang Rai. Karen Tribe Village is one of the mature tribal villages among them. The village comprises many tribes, including Karen, Hmong, Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Tai Lue, etc., located along the Kok River. It has a total population of nearly 2,840 people / 1,549 households.

It is an eco-tourism glamour that can access the Karen lifestyle. It is also supposed to be the center of the hill tribes in Mueang Chiang Rai District, causing many people to visit the village uninterruptedly, both Thais and foreigners.



Why Visit the Karen Tribe Village in Chiang Rai?

Northern Thailand Tribe Villages Karen Long Neck Village Children in Thailand


Wonderful Culture

Long Neck Karen Woman in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand

Many tourists are enthusiastic about visiting the long-neck Karen village. That's because the long-necked Karen people have their own culture, and dress clothes are vibrant. They have a different way of life from other communities and follow various beliefs. Interestingly, all of this, although simple and distinct. But it is very fascinating and delightful. Thus, it is not unexpected that the long-necked Karen village in Chiang Rai will captivate tourists to visit often and meet each other.


Karen Village Elephant Club

Tourist Ride Elephant Chiang Rai Thailand

This Karen Tribe Village has many activities for tourists. The significant activity is an elephant trekking service to see the tribal way of life around the village. You will have different entertainment once you take an elephant ride. It will take you across the village where you will observe the way of life of varying hill tribe people doing daily activities such as gardening, weaving, etc. Furthermore, besides riding an elephant, there is also a cart ride for trekking around the village, which also can be called an activity. There's a lot to do, so you will not be lonely.


Karen Village Elephants

Elephants Taking Bath in Chiang Rai Thailand

Also, when leaving the village, walk along the Kok River. However, there are many routes to choose from. But on one side, along the river, houses are lined up; therefore, we can see the way of life that we depend on and coexist with nature. On the other side, we can see natural scenery, rivers, and forests.


Farming Activities

Long Neck Karen Woman Hill Tribe Villages Chiang Rai Province Thailand

At the end of the exciting elephant riding experience, you may attend a shop selling souvenirs handcrafted by different hill tribes. You can also buy various silverware, necklaces, rings, bracelets, woven garments, hats, and scarves at accessible prices.


Tribal Cultural Shows

Girl Karen Long Neck in Chiang Rai, Thailand

In addition, every Friday, there is a performance of various tribal cultures of the students of Ban Ruammit School. You can watch and enjoy it. The village also has a homestay accommodation to get closer to the way of life of the hill tribes.


Shops in Karen Tribe Village 

Shops in Karen Tribe Village

You can go for a walk to buy souvenirs, whether silverware, necklaces, rings, or bracelets made by hill tribe people. There are woven shirts, woven fabrics, hats, and scarves that are freshly woven, and the prices are not expensive at all. Talk to the women and ask about the goods they are selling because the second you overcome gawker mode, you'll feel happy that you visited.

More Shops in Karen Tribe Village at Chiang Rai, Thailand

There are also restaurants to choose from, whether it's a la carte, rice noodles, Chinese dessert, papaya salad, grilled chicken, or fresh coffee. It was inexpensive and very delicious. If anyone wants to come here, they can come and visit. 


Culture and Lifestyle

Karen Tribe Village Culture and Lifestyle

The Karen are some of the only tribes left in Thailand to own and work with elephants. They have a long-standing history and relationship with elephants, whom they used to work with in the forests. They are popular as highly skilled mahouts, and in fact, most of the mahouts in the elephant camps in Chiang Mai today are from the Karen hill tribes.



How to Visit Karen Tribe Village in Chiang Rai?

How to Visit Karen Tribe Village in Chiang Rai?

Travel is comfortable as you can travel up to 3 ways:

  • Private Car
    • Karen Tribe Village is approximately 21 kilometers from Chiang Rai city center.
    • When heading along Phahonyothin Road towards Mae Chan District, while crossing the bridge over the Kok River, you will find a red light junction.
    • Turn right onto Mae Kok Road, about 3.5 kilometers to another junction, and turn right.
    • Take route 1207, go straight for 4.5 kilometers until you reach a three-way intersection, and turn left. 
    • Follow the route for another 12 kilometers and arrive at Baan Karen Ruammit. Signs point the way from time to time.


  • Take the red bus on the Chiang Rai - Mae Yao route, or charter a songthaew from the municipal fresh market.


  • Long-Tail Boat Waterway
    • From Mae Fah Luang Bridge Pier to Ban Thaton, Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai Province, or from Thaton to Chiang Rai with regular boats running between Chiang Rai - Thaton One trip per day, departing at 10.30 am.
    • Most tourists will charter. Chiang Rai - Karen tribe village travel time is approximately 40 minutes.


The Bear Travel  Did you know?

The Karen are renowned for their silversmithing skills and for producing high-quality silver beads and jewelry exported worldwide.




Maps & More Information

Karen Tribe Village in Chiang Rai is one of northern Thailand's most exotic and outstanding places. You can meet Karen women wearing brass rings around their necks there. And see how they work with a backstrap loom and practice their impressive weaving skills. It will be best to explore the village with the utmost respect to somehow get a slice of Karen culture and their way of life.  


Karen Tribe Village A Journey into Indigenous Culture in Chiang Rai



Business Hours

7:00 A.M. - 19:00 P.M.  |  Monday – Sunday

Business Address

26 2VCV+P9G, Nang Lae, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57100

Phone Number

+66 (0) 819-933-827




20.0195982, 99.8898743



Written by
The Bear Travelers

Hi! We're The Bear Travelers, passionate about exploring the world with friends, family, and loved ones. Join us on our spectacular journey as we dive into chosen destinations and share unforgettable experiences, capturing the essence of travel through engaging posts.


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