Kayan State

Meet Longneck Ladies

History and Background

Kayah state is home to nine distinct ethnic groups, which diversified and evolved from Karen culture. The biggest groups are the Kayah, Kayan, Bre, Lahta, and Yinbaw. Many tribes still practice their indigenous customs, handed down for centuries and dress in their traditional costumes.
Kayan people are represented by brass rings worn around the neck by women of the tribe.The Kayan are one of Southeast Asia’s most recognisable ethnic groups, due to the practice of wearing bright, brass neck rings. In Kayan, young girls start wearing the rings as early as five years old, and continue to add to the coil’s length every year. They have elongated necks as a result and is considered as a symbol of beauty and it has little effect on everyday life as they go about doing chores, unbothered by the brass coil around their necks. Visitors are generally intrigued by this unique tradition, and it is certainly something unique and memorable.