Burma Hill Tribes

Want to know more about the Burma hill tribes? Read on for facts and info on Burmese hill tribes…

The beautiful country of Burma is home to various ethnic groups, such as the Chinese, Indians and Bangladeshis. It is also a home to many, varied Burma hill tribes besides the two thirds of the Burmese population. These are the few of the tribes that you might meet when and if you visit Burma:


The Padaung tribe belongs to the southern Shan and Kayah States. The women of the Padaung make this tribe one of the most easily recognizable of the Burma hill tribes. The women wear brass or silver rings in their necks so that they stretch the neck out to about a foot long. This process sounds brutal but the girls of the tribe are used to it. On the girl’s eighth birthday, one metal ring is put into the girl’s neck and each year another one is added till the neck reaches the desired length. They believe this adds to the woman’s beauty, taking the concept of a long neck a little bit too far, literally.


The Akha tribe is also one of the more frequently seen Burma hill tribes. Most of the people in the tribe indulge in sewing clothes. The Akha tribe’s village is well known for their great wooden gates that have been carved with intricate designs and have guardian spirits to look over them. Interestingly, this is one of the only hill tribes that harvest narcotics however they only do so because their ancestors used to harvest them too.


This is one of the shyest Burma hill tribes and coming across anyone from the Kayaw tribe is next to impossible. They live on the remotest land of the hilly Kayah state. One of the weirdest rituals associated with this tribe is perhaps the coffin making ritual. When a man of the Kayaw tribe turns forty, he cuts a tree down and carves his coffin out of it. When the man eventually dies, his body is put in the coffin he had carved and then dangled off a cliff or put in a cave.


Not many people across the globe know that the Lisu tribe exists. The tribe belongs to the states of Kachin and Shan. They hunt and practice agriculture for a living. They tribe is extremely proud of its culture and colorful clothes. In fact Li means culture while su means a person. Despite the fact they are one of the least known tribes, they are extremely liberal but they place great emphasis on heritage.

Other Tribes

The other Burma hill tribes include the Jing Phaw, which belongs to Kachin, the Sakkya tribe, also known as the Thet tribe, of the Rakhine State and the Pa-O tribe, which also comes from the Shan state.

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