Mae Hong Son – Long-necked
Nai Soi is a traditional village catering to tourists near the Thai-Myanmar Northwestern border. The Padaung Long-necked inhabitants are refugees fleeing from Myanmar. The villages are set to attract the tourist dollar.
Mae Hong Son – 15Sep’05
Day 5, woke up about 6.30, went down to the morning market. Local crowd. Took in the smells and sights, nice. Early at 8 oclock, set off for Longnecked Karen village. Again got a good deal, planning everything ourselves. The agency charged 1000baht/pax, we went with Flemming’s guesthouse person and got 500baht/pax, which include the 250baht village entry fee.
The longnecked village Nai Soi was primarily catered to tourists. Fled from Myanmar and settled in Thailand. We arrived like just when the villagers were setting up their handicrafts. Since we were the only 2, plus one Taiwanese chap who was on the bus last night, we had a lot of time on the village. The agency gave us one hour at the village. We spent 2.5 hours there. Talked to the villages for a bit. Took photos. Went to their school. (You have to see the photos). Learnt that their primary source of income is the tourist flow. They dont do agriculture, they depend on tourists to sustain them. A bit exploitative, to gawk at them like tourists do, but its like their way out of a poor life. The 250baht entrance fee goes to buy necessities for the families. The school was amazing. Lots of kids from nearby villages attend the school. You see really cute 4 year old kids from the tribes, long-necked, big-eared and others. Just see the photos. (Photos lost cos imagestation closed down). As we were travelling back to town, passed by 15 van-loads of tourists (not exaggerating) going to the village. Lucky us. Avoided crowd again.
Here’s an article from the NYT – http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/20/travel/nai-soi-s-long-necked-women.html