Yao Hill Tribe Girl ~ Thailand

A girl from the Yao hill tribe in Thailand posing in traditional costume in a village near Chiang Mai.

The Yao Hill Tribe (also called the Mien Hill Tribe) originate from Southern China. They can be found mainly in the Golden Triangle in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. They had in the past considerable power during the Chinese Empire as the Emperor was married to a Yao Tribe woman.

The Yao are the only hill tribe to have a written language, based on ancient Chinese characters. Their religion also originates from medieval Chinese Taoism and ancestor worship, although today, many have converted to Buddhism or Christianity.
In the past, the main source of income of the Yao was growing opium. Nowadays, they have switched to planting rice, corn and fruits.
They are friendly and peace-loving people (no, not hippies) and are known to peacefully resolve conflicts and pride themselves in cleanliness and honor.

The easiest way to recognize the Yao tribe is from the women’s clothing. They wear big dark turbans decorated with embroidery, colorful beads and silver as well as distinctive black jackets with very bright red collars.


Things I love today:

The sight of the amazing sunset from my window

The smell of my girlfriend’s hair

The feel of the cold weather in Chiang Mai

The taste of wheat bread with butter and jam

The sound of the wind chimes outside my building