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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Akha

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The Akha, who are fun-loving people and known for their strong believes in ancestors and adherence to traditions and customs.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


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The Karen, who form the largest group among the hill tribes of Thailand. They are peace loving people, live a simple way of life and strongly adhere to their traditions and customs.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


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          The H'Tin are a tribal group that can be found only in the northern province of Nan. Actually, the H'Tin belong to the same group as the Lua or Lawa. The local Thai in Nan call them H'Tin, that literally means "local", because they are long time residents of that locality. The H'Tin live in the forest areas along the Thai-Laos border in Nan province.

          The H'Tin of Nan have a similar cultural development as of the Lua in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. That is, they have also been much absorbed into other tribal groups, especially by the Thai, so that it is now hardly possible to identify the H'Tin from the Thai, except through their different style of house building, of crop farming and through the use of dialect among group members.


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          The Khamu is an other group, speaking Mon-Khmer language family. Their original settlements were located along Thai-Laos border in the valleys of Mae Khong River. The Khamu are found in the provinces of Nan and Chiang Rai.

          The Khamu have always migrated to other places as laborers for a very long time. That effects their way of life and their cultures a lot, for they have been so much absorbed into other tribal groups, especially by the Thai, that it is now hardly possible to find authentic Khamu settlements, except some different dialects, rituals or customs.

Mlabri or Phi Tong Lueang

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Mlabri means literally "forest people". But the name that northern Thai people give to members of a tribal group is Phi Tong Lueang or "wandering ghosts of yellow banana leaves". Because these people did not want -at least in the past- to be seen or found by strangers. When it happens, they will give up their temporary dwelling and move to another place, for they do not trust strangers. Or, when they have been long enough at one place, and at one time green banana leaves, of which their temporary housing was partly made of, turned to become yellow, they will also leave that place and go looking for a new one. They also moved to another place, when the area they have been living could not cover their basic need of food. The Mlabri are hunters and food collectors.
The Mlabri belong to the Mon-Khmer speaking groups. According to their legend, they are believed to have originated in a Mae Khong River valley in a northern province of Laos. In Thailand they are found only in the provinces of Phrae and Nan.
The official counting in 1997 shows that there are only 125 members of Mlabri group (67 men and 58 women) living in 24 households in 3 villages in 3 districts of the 2 provinces

Lua or Lawa

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The Lua were originally peoples of the Salawin and Mae Khong rivers, and are believed to have migrated to South China, Burma, Laos and northern Thailand long long time ago. The Mae Ping valleys in the North of Thailand used to be settlements of the Lua, long before Thai peoples came to conquer and take these lands to live here.
The Lua are linguistically related to the Mon-Khmer. They have been now so much and so well absorbed into Thai cultures and way of life that it is hardly possible to identify them from the Thai. Those retaining their own identity live almost only in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son.
The Lua can live both at a very high altitude and in valleys. They have now adopted a cyclical bush fallow and, like the Karen, a skill of making paddy rice on terraces. The Lua are monogamous and their kinship is patrilineal, although not so strictly. They are originally animists and ancestor worshippers; now they have combined their traditional beliefs with Buddhism.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lisu or Lisaw

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The Lisu are believed to have originated in southern China, and, as already mentioned, ethnologically linked with the Lolo, Akha and Lahu. The first Lisu came to settle down in Thailand 60-70 years ago, and that was in Ban Doi Chang in the Community of Wawi in the District of Mae Sruai in the Province of Chiang Rai. There are 2 main subgroups of the Lisu: Chinese-Lisu or Han-Lisu and real Lisu. Chinese-Lisu can be recognized by their family names. Anyway, all Lisu groups speak dialects of Tibeto-Burman language family.
The Lisu settlements have a special character or form; they look like a fortress, located at altitude of more than 1,000 meters above sea level. Like others, the Lisu are shifting cultivators, growing rice and maize for consumption and opium poppy as cash crop. It is to be noticed here that only few Lisu are opium addicted. The Lisu are also known as master of languages for, besides cultivation, they travel among all tribal groups and do business with them.

Akha or Ikaw

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The Akha are ethnologically related to the Lolo tribal groups in southern China, like the Lisu and the Lahu; they all have originated in the Tibetan Plateau and then migrated southward to South China, Burma and Laos, and some came to Thailand about 90 years ago. They first came to settle down in Ban Phaya Phrai, Mae Hua Kham in the district of Mae Chan in the province of Chiang Rai; but now the Akha can be found in provinces of Chiang Mai, Lampang, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet and Phrae. Newcomers from Burma still continue to come to live in Thailand. Three main subgroups of the Akha are U Lo, Loimi and Phami; they all speak a Tibeto-Burman language.
Most Akha settlements are located at an altitude of about 1,000 meters above sea level. The Akha are shifting cultivators, like many other highland tribes. Their basis social unit is an extended family; polygamy is commonly practiced among them. The Akha are culturally patriarch.
The Akha are strict practitioners of animism. Together with this and complex social rituals, the culture of the Akha is formed. That creates difficulties for them to change and to adapt themselves to changing and new social and economic circumstances. The Akha celebrate their New Year in December.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mien or Yao

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The Mien are believed to have originated in southern China and linguistically related to the Hmong and Chinese. We find the Mien in South China, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and northern Thailand. Mien villages are located at the altitude of around 1,000 meters above sea level. The Mien make their living out of shifting cultivation. Rice, vegetables, maize and, for some, opium poppy are their staple, feed and cash crops, respectively.
The Mien practice polygamy and their family structure is extended. Like Chinese, they worship ancestors and kinship ties are much important to them. Due to mode of their production, which requires a great demand of human labor, adoption of children from other or outside tribal groups is widely practiced. The Mien have also adopted Chinese cultures to their own, including Chinese characters (for written language), literature, beliefs and other practices. The Mien New Year is celebrated at the same time as Chinese New Year.

Lahu or Musur

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The Lahu are believed to have originated on the Tibetan Plateau and ethnologically related to the Lolo tribal groups in southern China, like the Lisu and the Akha. They have been migrating and moving over centuries in China, Burma, Laos and Thailand. In Thailand, they are found in 6 provinces, in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet and Nakhon Sawan. The Lahu in Thailand consist of many subgroups, e.g. Red Musur, Yellow Musur, Black Musur or Lahu Shele etc. They are all Tibeto-Burman speaking groups.
Lahu villages are usually located at altitude higher than 1,000 meters above sea level. The Lahu make their living out of shifting cultivation. Besides rice and maize, for some Lahu, opium poppy is their cash crop.
The Lahu are monogamous and single family is key social unit. Kinship ties are not as strict as to other tribes. In case of marriage, Lahu men are expected to stay in the family of his wife for a period of time to provide bride services. Most of Black Musur and Red Musur are Christians; others remain animists. The Lahu celebrate their New Year in January and March.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

HillTribe Village

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Have a one-in-alifetime experience : Get touch with nature in highland ; Lead about and understand tribal customs and culture. See a varirty of peace-loving, Simply, minded and affectionnate tribal life stayes. .....waiting....for comming......