The Karen are one of the largest hilltribes in Southeast Asia with a total population of about three million spread throughout Burma, Laos and Thailand, which makes up half of the total hilltribe population in Thai territory. We have our own unique culture, language and history. We are known for our love of peace and tranquility, but also hospitality and close connection with nature. Learn more about us!
As the Karen hill tribe people, we still wear our traditional outfits in daily life. We are very skilled weavers, handcrafting beautiful and unique cloths - woven v-neck tunics of various natural colours and patterns. All of them have also special meanings in our culture. For example married women wear distinctive long white v-neck tunics which stretches down from the shoulders to the ankles. Once a woman has married she is allowed to wear colourful shirt, accompanied by a single tube-shaped skirt. Young men from all Karen groups wear red.
Most Karen work as farmers -a profession that allows them to be indepedent and free. Living in the mountains, we rely on the water and the forest for our livelihood, so we are deeply connected to the cycles of nature. The food we produce has been mostly for personal consumption, not for sale to others. This holds true for raising animals. Chickens, pigs, etc. would be consumed by the family raising them, or among friends and relatives in the village.
Karen people are the only hilltribe which takes care of elephants. The elephants that we have in our sanctuary were mostly previously working elephants which have passed down through generations of Karen tribs people and now we have an elephant baby 2.6years old and we will take of her incarefully.