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Roy Mark with Longneck Family

No one knows for sure how the coil custom got started.  One theory says it was conceived to make the women's appearance strange enough that men form other tribes wouldn't pursue them.  Another story says it was so tigers wouldn't carry them off by their throats.  The Paduang themselves tell of apocryphal story claiming their ancestors were the offspring of a liaison between the wind and a beautiful female dragon, and that the coil-wearing custom pays tribute to their dragon progenitor.  The women also wear thin hoops made of cane or lacquerer cord in bunches around their knees and calves.  As fewer and fewer Padaung women adopt the custom, the coil-wearing tradition is gradually dying out. 

Hill Tribe village near Mae Hong Son, Thailand
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(The Village from the river)

The village is located in Mae Hong Son Province near the city of Mae Hong Son in Northeast Thailand.  Mae Hong Son Province borders the Myanmar (Burma) Province of Kayah.  The villagers are all political and economic refugees from the military dictatorship in Myanmar.  The only access to the village is by boat on the Nae Nam Pai River.   The trip  from Mae Hong Son City takes about 30 minutes

Main Street at Rush Hour
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(Rush Hour on "Main Street")

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Roy Mark with Longneck woman and child

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This picture was taken in the same village in August of 2004.  This lady is dressed in traditional attire, but did not wear neck rings.  She did however have decorative rings on her legs.

Mae Hong Son City has an airport and is serviced by Thai International Airlines.  Buses ply the mountainous roads around Thailand's highest mountain, Mount Inthanon.  Buses from Chiang Mai City take about 7 hours. 


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