Mlabri - Spirits of the Yellow Leaves

The Mlabri are an enigmatic group of about 300 people who, until a few decades ago, used to live a nomadic life as hunters and gatherers in the dense forests and high mountains of Northern Thailand. They would build temporary structures of bamboo sticks thatched with fresh, green banana leaves and occupy these for a few days, until the leaves turned yellow.

Related article about Mlabri´s on the Asian Geographic.


The Maniq are a hunting and gathering society, they are the only Negrito group in Thailand. They hunt many types of animals and consume many different kinds of vegetables and fruits. They wear simple clothes made of materials such as bamboo leaves. They are familiar with many different species of medicinal herbs. The total population of the Maniq is about 300 people.


The Karen tribe, which is unofficially called the Long Neck tribe, came to Thailand from Burma, when escaping war and violence in their country. They are world famous for their women, who wear golden rings around their necks. From the time when they are 5 to their 21st birthday, each year one ring is added to their collection. At the end, their necks get so long that these women are often called “dragon ladies”, or just “long necks”. According to Karen people, the longer the neck the more beautiful the woman who wears them is.

Urak Lawoi

The Urak Lawoi is an ethnic group residing on several islands off the western coast of Thailand. They are one of several ethnicities sometimes known as Sea Gypsies. The daily life of the Urak Lawoi has been firmly connected to the sea, and their seaside villages were established with a communal ethic that ensured that most things were shared, and that everyone knew each other. Today, their way of life is changing due to the national Marine Park, the influx of tourists, and competition with commercial fisheries.