Thiha Lu Lin
Road to Kayan
I've been to Pan Pat (Pan Pae) region to meet with these Padaung ethnic group. Just 20 miles away (1.30 hrs drive) from Loikaw city, Kayah State, Myanmar. But I only had a chance to visit their shop-houses near their village.
I saw only Padaung women (Kayan women) who have followed traditional culture of wearing neck rings. As far as I know they have to start wear brass neck coils at the age of five. Over a year, the coil replaced by a longer one with more turns. The reason they put this brass neck coil is to protect from the tigers while they are going around in the wood for hunting and harvesting. But in these days, the young generations seem not ti want to continue with this tradition anymore. We also couldn't say 'No' to them as if I were one of them, I don't want to either. But for Myanmar Tourism Industry, we need them to continue with this tradition. You may need some translater when you buy souvenirs from them as some couldn't speak Burmese well. Because some were just back from Thailand. That's why they know how to make money here. You might see them in near by cities like Loikaw or Demawso. They are going around for market days and selling thier traditional things on village market days. It is usual things the local people do in rural areas. There is normal wet market at the village but when 5 days over, they call it market day and the sellers from all villages come there for trading and merchandising. If you ask them to take a photo when you see them, they might charge. They used to do it in Thailand before. Normally Myanmar ethnic people, they never charge taking photos with them when you ask. But some might feel shy. I bought Kayan Shirt, Paper weight, etc and taking photos with them. Cool, huh?