Ethical dilemmas in the hills of Northern Thailand

A great reflection and photos on Thailand, minorities and ethical tourism

Notes from Camelid Country

Ethical tourism is tricky. If ever it did, the ‘take only pictures, leave only footprints’ brand of travel ethics doesn’t stand up to scrutiny during the era of climate crisis. The severely negative impact of mass tourism has blighted both historic cities and pristine natural habitats, and driven exploitation of people and nature. Travel can contribute to a greater understanding between peoples, but mass tourism is not a great vehicle for building mutual respect or sustainable economic development.

The exploitation of vulnerable minorities displaced by war is probably not something most of us would knowingly sign up for. Yet the case of the Kayan people highlights that even this over simplification is fraught with ethical dilemmas.

Hmong village, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Kayan woman, Chiang Mai, Thailand

I was in Chiang Mai working with a local organisation providing mobile health services to remote communities in the region. These are mainly poor…

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26 thoughts on “Ethical dilemmas in the hills of Northern Thailand

    • Hi Coeur de feu. I seem to have missed your posts this week? (Or am I beginning to have cabin fever delirium?)
      How have you been? The figures in the US are heart-breaking. And the health profession is very exposed. Are you taking all possible precautions?
      The merit to the post goes to my dear friend Paul Bell.
      Stay safe 🙏🏻😷💕

  1. Just more exploitation. And it seems the women, who are the only ones in the pictures, are the ones who are being exploited the most. How terrible. Why don’t people think about what they’re doing?

    • Exploitation… hmmm. I need to get to Hegel. (Master-slave dialectic) I’ve been stuck in my readings of philosophy with Kant. I always get stuck with Kant! LOL.
      Another aspect of “women” is that women tend to stick more to traditional clothes. I’ve seen it in Chiapas and Guatemala. Over there, the men had a very colourful traditional costume, but abandoned it for pants and Bulls TY-shirts. So the only ones “left” to photograph are the women. My interpretation is that the women are stronger keepers of tradition…
      Take care.

  2. Yes… ethical travel, indeed!
    I wonder how these people are holding up during Covid 19. I’m sure some travellers must have brought it there.

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