Visiting Long neck village in Thailand

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Huay Pu Keng (known as “Long neck village”) is a very small distant village in the forests of Mae Hong Son, near Chiang Mai. It is inhabited by Karen group which consists of 4 different tribes.

The most famous one is Kayan tribe known for its long neck women. What is their life like? Why do they have long necks? And more importantly, how to visit Long neck village on your own? Keep on reading and you will find all the answers.

How to get to Huay Pu Keng

The nearest big city to Karen village is Chiang Mai. You can get there by bus, train or a flight from other places around Thailand. You can book your train or bus tickets with If you are flying to Chiang Mai, find flight tickets at

Once in Chiang Mai, you will need to make your way to Mae Hong Son town. That’s where your adventure starts.

There is public transport available, just ask around in town. You can also rent a scooter and come on your own. We visited Huay Pu Keng during Mae Hong Son loop trip. 

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Where to stay in Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son is a small sleepy town. I recommend staying somewhere between the lake and the airport. There is a night market each night by the lake.

Best hotels in Mae Hong Son

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Getting to Long neck village from Mae Hong Son

Getting to Huay Pu Keng couldn’t be any easier since the community and government built a road going almost all the way to the village.

Obviously that makes it really simple to arrive on your own motorbike. This is the parking spot where you need to get.

Once you park your bike, there will be a boat waiting for you to cross a river. Locals charge 20TBH for round trip. 

Long neck village Huay Pu Keng Karen tribe long neck woman

There is another way how to reach the village. A bit more adventurous if you will. Instead of arriving on your own motorbike, you can take a boat ride.

However it takes a few hours and costs around 800TBH. This is where you should be able to catch the boat (map).

Long neck village North Thailand Huay Pu Keng

Joining a Long neck village tour

Of course, you can still organize a trip to visit Long neck village using local travel agencies in Mae Hong Son or other towns in the North. It’s also possible to book a tour online.

Usually these tours will also take you to White temple, Blue temple, Long neck village and few other spots. Check the tours below:

Best Mae Hong Son tours

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Long neck village Huay Pu Keng Karen tribe long neck woman

Visiting Long neck village

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Entrance fee: 200TBH per person, 20TBH for a boat

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Overnight stay: 500TBH for a night for 2

As soon as you get off the boat on the other bank of the river you will see a small map of the area. Right at the village entrance you can find the only restaurant in Long neck village – noodle shop. Additionally there’s a small grocery store on the opposite side. They even sell cold beer!

Long neck village North Thailand Huay Pu Keng

There’s only one main street across which you can see long neck women selling their handicrafts. As you walk up the street you can admire their work.

Long neck women sell mostly brass necklace, hand made statues or woven scarfs. Do not hesitate to talk to the women and get to know their culture better.

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Read next: Visiting Blue temple in Chiang Rai

As you keep going up the village you will soon get to the area of other tribe – Kayaw people. Their women are known for wearing huge earplugs. There’s also an old school building in the back.

Kayaw tribe woman earplugs

On the left side of the village there are few bridges to cross a river (which only exists during wet season). There are few more houses and a Christian church. At the edge of the Long neck village you can see playground and a new school for kids.

Where to stay in Long neck village

If you have time I would highly recommend to spend a night in Huay Pu Keng village. It gives you more time with the Karen and Kayaw tribes as well as the opportunity to get to know their culture much better. There are few homestays in the village. It is not necessary to have anything organised in advanced.

Long neck village North Thailand Huay Pu Keng

We personally visited Ma Pang’s guesthouse. Ma Pang is a very friendly woman that always wear a smile on her face. We caught her by surprise but she welcomed us with opened arms.

Long neck village Huay Pu Keng Karen tribe long neck woman

Ma Pang

When staying in Long neck village overnight, be prepared for very simple conditions. The houses of Karen tribes are built on wooden stilts above the ground.

They’re made of wood and the roof is usually made of leaves. We slept in a small room with a matress on the floor. The shower is just a huge bucket full of water you have to pour over yourself.

Long neck village North Thailand Huay Pu Keng

The price for the stay which is around 500TBH for 2 people includes dinner and breakfast.

About Long neck village and long neck tradition

Why do women have long necks

Probably the most asked question is why women have long necks in the first place. However, it is not their necks that are long.

Long neck women of Kayan tribe wear huge and heavy brass rings around their neck. This tradition starts when they are young. In addition, each year a new ring is added.

It’s the weight of the rings that makes their rib cage drop, modifying their body and making their necks seem long.

Moreover, according to the tribe, the longer the neck, the more beautiful the woman. In any case, this unique tradition has drawn significant attention and curiosity from people around the world.

Long neck village Huay Pu Keng Karen tribe long neck woman

There are multiple stories about why the tradition was started in the first place. Some say it was for a protection of women while others believe it’s a symbol of beauty. Who knows what’s the truth. 

Where does Long neck tribe come from

The whole Long neck village was a refugee camp some years ago. Karen tribe comes from the neighbouring Myanmar. People were forced to flee due to civil and political unrest in their country.

They have refugee status in Thailand which highly limits their opportunities for a normal life. Most of these people only leave their village occassionally. 

Long neck village Huay Pu Keng Karen tribe long neck woman

Women make money selling handmade products. Whole village also maskes roofs made of leaves which they export to surrounding areas.

But the main source of income remains tourism. If you decide to visit Long neck village, consider getting yourself a nice little souvenir to support the local community.

Long neck village North Thailand Huay Pu Keng

Long neck village – conclusion

Visiting Long neck village causes mixed feelings in most cases. On one hand it’s beautiful to spend time with different culture and get to know more about their traditions. But on the other hand many tourists describe this place as a tourist trap or human zoo.

It’s hard to express my opinion on this. Yes, it does feel like a tourist trap a little bit. But keep in mind that these people have no other way to earn money for living.

They are certainly thankful to have tourists who support them. But due to this financial pressure, tthe long neck women might be a bit unfriendly or offended when you don’t buy anything from them.

In conclusion, I would say it’s a very interesting experience to stay with Long neck tribe in Huay Pu Keng. These traditions are slowly disappearing so you should definitely visit Huay Pu Keng if you have a chance.

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