Ban Nai Soi
Pang Moo Sub-district, Muang District, Mae Hong Son Province
Distance from Border:
4 km in a straight line
Distance from Mae Hong Son
26 km / approx. 45 minutes driving time
Car: Good, all-year-round access from sealed car road.
Phone: No mobile phone coverage
Area 440 rai (70 ha)
Introduction and History
Ban Mai Nai Soi is the northernmost camp in Thailand and has a population of more than 10,000 people, almost all of whom are of Karenni/Kayah ethnicity and come from the state of the same name in Burma/Myanmar. Around 2 percent of residents come from areas in Shan State.
The camp dates back to 1989, when an original refugee settlement of this name was established on the Karenni/Kayah side of the border.
The group moved many times before they finally settled at the camp’s present location in March 1996, with a population of around 1,700. Six years later, two other camps, Ban Tractor and Ban Kwai, were consolidated with Ban Mai Nai Soi to make one camp.
Ban Mai Nai Soi’s day-to-day operations run with the contributions of refugee leaders such as Naw Moe Boe. Service providers like shop owner Bae Reh are also important to the daily life of the communities.
Due to its isolated location, Ban Mai Nai Soi is off the mains electricity grid. The camp office and health and education centres have access to power from electric generators. Some households also have access to the generators, to recharge vehicle batteries which power residential lighting.
In 2005, the Royal Thai Government gave approval for resettlement opportunities to be offered to camp residents. As of September 2018, a total of 16,267 people had departed for new lives abroad, according to IOM data. The majority resettled in the USA and Australia.