A group of Palaung serving lunch in their community centre in a village near Kalaw. Myanmar is one of the most ethnically diversed countries in the world. The 50 plus million Myanmar population is devided into eight "national races", which in turn sub-devided into more than 130 ethnic groups.

The Palaungs, who mainly live in the Kalaw area in Shan State, belong to the Mon-Khmer stock. Palaung costumes feature bright and saturated colour, with married women wearing cane rings around their waists to indicate marital status.


Most Palaungs in the village prefer their traditional way of life, and live in the long houses unique to their tribe. Six Palaung families live together without separation in this 30-metre-or-so long house, in which all daily activities take place - weaving, cooking, child caring... Tiny chambers (upper left corner) are set up for some degree of privacy.


A Palaung woman shows off her pride in the long house.