Set amid the hills and rice paddies of Northern Thailand, the village of Baan Thong Luang is home to four hill tribe groups including the Karen tribe, known for wearing brass rings designed to elongate their necks. The village was established as a cultural preservation project in 2005 to help maintain the traditions of ancient hill tribes.
The rising popularity of Baan Thong Luang mean that options for visiting the eco-agricultural village are plentiful. Time-pressed travelers can make the most of a short stay on half-day tours, some of which stop at the Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park to learn how locals recycle elephant dung. Alternatively, thrill seekers can combine Baan Thong Luang with white-water rafting and ziplining, while history buffs can opt for a tour that focuses on Chiang Mai’s temples and religious history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Baan Thong Luang is an educational place for kids and adults alike.
- The village is an easy way for time-pressed travelers to get an overview of Thailand’s ethnic minority hill tribes.
- There are various handicrafts on display throughout the village, including jewelry, dolls, and textiles, the sale of which provides income for the people here.
- Visitors must pay an admission fee to access the village.
How to Get There
Baan Thong Luang village is located off Maerim-Samoeng Road, about 40 minutes from Chiang Mai by car. If you’re a confident driver, you can hire a scooter, but to spend less time driving and more time enjoying the mountain scenery, opt for a tour that includes round-trip transport from Chiang Mai.
When to Get There
The village is open daily during daylight hours. If you want to avoid the brunt of the crowds, try to arrive at Baan Thong Luang as early as possible.
The Famous Long Neck Karen Tribe
The Karen tribe, often referred to as the long neck tribe, emigrated to Thailand from Burma, where escalating violence and ethnic intolerance threatened to eradicate the Karen and its ancient traditions. Karen women elongate their necks with golden rings in order to appeal to their tribesmen, who believe that a longer neck equals a more beautiful woman.