Hill Tribes - Lisu & Karen



Lisu hilltribes northern Thailand The Lisu prefer to set up home near the tops of mountains, as close as possible to streams or waterfalls. Their houses are usually positioned to stand parallel to the face of the mountain on which they live.

Some consider the Lisu to be the best-looking of all the tribes, and it’s because of this that they tend to be the least bashful. They are also said to have a highly competitive spirit.

The Lisu, as many other hill tribes have their origins in Burma. The northerly-most province in Burma has a majority Lisu population.



While the majority of Karen people live in Burma today, Thailand still has about 280,000 Karen living in the North. In fact there are so many Karen in the south Burmese/North Thai region that they want to form their own state, and have been long been a thorn in the side of the Burmese military regime trying to get it.

Dozens of Karen, men women and children, are killed everyday as they bravely stand up to the oppressive Burmese government. Luckily for the Karen in Thailand, life is much easier.

They like to settle in lower foothills rather than mountain tops, and live in bamboo houses on stilts. Under the houses they usually keep a variety of domestic animals. They are skilled farmers and use elephants to help them clear land.

Ancestors and living elders are held in the highest esteem. Karen women are highly skilled in weaving, sewing and dyeing cloth. About a quarter of Karen living in Thailand have converted to Christianity.