The Karen are the most numerous of the minority peoples who live in the hills of North Thailand. Originally from Burma, they have been moving through the hills for centuries in search of new sites for their villages. Many are still in Burma, but those in Thailand number about 300,000.

By tradition they are animists but now many of them have been converted to Christianity by missionaries. They live in Bamboo or teak stilt houses with their domestic animals living underneath.

Nowadays it is more common to see the Pwo and Sgaw Karen still wearing their traditional costumes.