For years, I have wanted to meet the National Geographic, comercially fantasized, “Long Neck” women that fled from Myanmar (formerly called Burma) to Thailand for political refuge. There are still many Padaung women “stuck” in Burma, although they live in areas of the country deemed “unsafe” for tourists to travel. In fact, we tried to find a way to meet the ones on the Burma side, but the government still restricts where you can and can’t go in the country under the military-run government.
While the Padaung women (and their children) are a profit-making machine for the Thai government, Ted and I really wanted to learn about these women…more than the normal 20-minute-flyby-on-a-tour tourist would see or notice. We decided to spend a full day in each of the two villages housing these refugees learning the “other” side of the story.
The ladies are absolutely stunning with their long necks. After all, the rings around their necks are for beauty.
We drew quite a curious crowd while making the video.
This little cutie didn’t want to give the tripod back, so we let him hang out for a while while taking hand-held shots.
Here’s Ted’s awesome video! This piece really tells the story from “their” side. It’ll surprise you.
A little side note to go along with our experience…. Ted lost his wedding ring shortly after we were married in 2006. Knowing that we were going to be traveling the world, he opted to find a new one that had special meaning from somewhere in our journey, rather than replacing it with the same one. After our experience in the long neck village, one of the women made both Ted and I rings out of the same brass that they use to make the rings around their neck.
Here we are with our new rings….