Photo: Some have lived here for generations.

Huay Sua Tao and visiting the Kayan people

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The nearby Kayan village of Huay Sua Tao is a popular highlight on many peoples’ Mae Hong Son itineraries so we’ll try and kill two birds with one stone here and describe a visit to this easily accessible village with a broader commentary on both the ethnic group and our take on the ethics of visiting their villages.

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The people of the Kayan ethnic group come under many names: most frequently and crudely, “Long-Neck Karen” by local Thais and visitors who don’t know any better; “Femmes Giraffes”, by the ever tactful French and just “Long-Necks” in certain tourist blurb. They are actually a sub-group of the Red Karen or Karenni ethnic group and originate from Burma’s Kayah State just across the border from Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Province, where they are also known as the Padaung. The Karenni National Progressive Party, (KNPP) along with its military wing the Karenni Army, has struggled against the Burmese government (and army) for self-determination since 1957. Although a tentative peace agreement was concluded with the government in 2012, those 55 years of armed struggle have created a huge ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 800 words.)


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