|The Akha are
believed to originate from S. China or Tibet. Linguistically they belong to the
Tibeto-Burman group and they are related to the Lolo tribes of Yunnan (S. China). The Hani
tribe in Yunnan province is very similar to the Akha. Most Akha are to be found in
Northern Burma, NW Laos and Northern Thailand; which would support the view that they
migrated southwards from Tibet and China.
It is thought that the first Akha came to Thailand sometime in the nineteenth century and
settled north of the Kok River. Since then they have moved southwards but the majority are
still to be found in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces.
In Thailand there are 2 types of Akha; the U Lo and the Loimi. They can be distinguished
by their costumes and headdress. The U Lo wear a conical headdress and generally have many
more coloured pattern on the sleeves of their coat. The Loimi are easily recognisable by
the distinctive metal plate on the back of the women's headdress.
|The Akha prefer
to live at an elevation of over 1,000m. They practice shifting cultivation growing dry
rice, corn, vegetables, peppers and beans. They also raise buffaloes, pigs and chickens.
Akha believe in spirits, including ancestor spirits, friendly and malicious spirits as
well as many others. Spirit gates are found on the outside of every Akha village - there
are two at opposite ends of the village. These gates protect the village from the many
In the Akha village
an Akha man normally has one wife. In one house you will find an extended family living
there but the house will be partly divided into, one section for the women and one for the
men. Married couples will have a smaller house apart from the large family house.
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