As part of my work for Capital Television Group I have a wonderful chance to travel, around the world in years gone by but recently to a hidden away in a jungle location in Northwest Thailand.
Laytongku Village is an extremely remote Karen hill-tribe settlement in Tak Province on the Myanmar border the settlement dates back around 250 years, its accessed by traversing the notorious Death Highway 1090 and then a 20 Km dirt track through the mountains that can only be accessed by 4 wheel drive or endure motorcycles.
The Karen people who live in the area follow a belief called ”Animism” or translated means “breath, spirit & life” Animism is believed to be the oldest belief systems on the planet and aims to live with nature and with respect does not try to control or destroy the environment. Unfortunately about 50 years ago some over enthusiastic so called Christian missionary headed by a Mr Allan Eubank targeted these people for conversion, Christianity has managed to get a foothold on these people through bribery but fortunately the people have been able to hold onto their Animism beliefs and traditions and have not been completely suppressed.
The Thai government and NGO’s do a lot of good work here, helping these people with self-sufficiency, education and resources and small discrete scale hydroelectric systems can be seen at the waterfalls around the village.