Be it a backpacking adventure or a relaxing vacation, every year millions of travellers can be found on the pristine beaches and busy streets of Thailand. Amongst the welcoming Thai people, who host this universal crowd, are a group of native inhabitants who have been hiding in plain sight. They are known as the hill tribe people.
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'Hill tribe' is a term used in Thailand to represent various indigenous and ethnic groups who inhabit the mountains of Northern Thailand. The seven major hill tribes that together make the largest non-Buddhist community of Thailand are – Akha, Lahu, Karen, Hmong/Miao, Mien/Yao, Lisu, Palaung. These tribes are spread across high regions of northern and western Thailand, the Phi Pan Nam Range, the Thanon Range, the southern parts of Shan Hills as well as the Tenasserim Hills.
In an effort to support the indigenous community which often faces criminalisation and persecution at the hands of officials who treat them as outsiders, the Asian-Ocean group of hotels has opened an eco-lodge with the help of the Lahu community of hill tribe people. The initiative is aimed at bringing the plight and culture of hill tribe people to the attention of global travellers.