Learn about Ancient Tradition of Long-neck Women in Myanmar

Nestled on top of Karen Hills, the "giraffe" tribe attracts visitors with its custom-made metal rings on the necks of the women. The weight of the rings they carry on the neck can be up to 16 kg.

Travel to Myanmar to visit 'giraffe' village

The "giraffe" tribe is called Kayan, inhabiting the remote Karen Hills mountains in the east of Myanmar. The women here customarily wear metal bracelets on the necks, hands and feet with the concept of showing the noble and wealthy of the family.

Since ancient times, necklaces have been a valuable fashion item and are often used by young girls in the family. There are many explanations for this custom. Residents here believe that wearing rings to prevent the beast from biting on the neck, which reduces the beauty of women. They also believe that, wearing many rings is attractive to the men. Therefore, a woman can wear 16 kg of rings on the neck.

This practice seems to have disappeared when the community opened its doors to tourists, due to the influence of Western cultures, according to Channel News Asia.

"Most young women do not wear rings anymore because of the influence of modern culture," said Mr. Mu Lone in Pan Pet village.

Pan Pet is a village with more than 1,000 inhabitants. Decades ago, armed conflicts separated the village from the outside world, making it the most remote place in Myanmar. In 2012, Pan Pet opened to welcome visitors.

Today, the girls in the village feel free when they unleash their rings. Some still stick to this custom not to preserve tradition, but for commercial reasons in tourism.

"What we see is just outside. It seems that it is only possible to keep the custom, not to keep the spirit of tradition, "said Pascal Khoo Thwe, an expert at the International Trade Center.

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