The nation’s dominant Lao Loum – Mekong River valley dwellers – make up more than 75% of Sayaboury’s population, while Khmu, Hmong, and Tai Lue account for most of the rest, though the province’s steep mountains hide obscure ethnic groups such as the Iu Mien, Tong Luang, and Phrai.
The Khmu migrated to Sayabouli centuries ago, and practice animism and spirit worship. Taleo, a decorated bamboo gate separating the human world from the natural world, mark each village’s entrance, and the people rely on the forest for growing rice, hunting and gathering, and producing rattan and bamboo products.
The Hmong tend to establish hilltop villages, and are skilled at hunting, mixing herbal medicines and raising animals. Intricate embroidery and heavy silver jewelry adorn their clothes. The Tai Lue began migrating from southern China in the 15th century, and are known for their intricate silk and cotton textiles. They practice a mix of animism and Buddhism, and most villages have a temple and monks.
The Tai Lue began migrating from southern China in the 15th century, and are known for their intricate silk and cotton textiles. They practice a mix of animism and Buddhism, and most villages have a temple and monks.
Sayabouli’s Saysathan District is one of only two Lao provinces the country’s 15,000-some Phrai call home, and their distinct culture, language and lifestyle varies widely from most other minority groups. The few thousand Phrai, a poverty-stricken people historically snubbed, inhabit the mountains in Saysathan District. They have no written language, and since metal is taboo, they have mastered bamboo to create almost all their household needs. This matriarchal group transfers family land and wealth to the youngest daughter, who often […]
The Iu Mien migrated from China during the 20th century, and mostly live as farmers growing cash crops like sesame and corn, raising poultry and pigs, and domesticating free-range cattle. Though they celebrate some Buddhist holidays, the Iu Mien practice a complex mix of animism, ancestor worship, feng shui, and magic based on Taoism, and the believe in some Lao Loum spirits such forest ghosts. Lu Mien speak their own language, and can be recognized by their dyed indigo clothes. […]
Few Miabri (or so-called Tong Luang (Banana Leaf People)) carry out their subsistence lives in the mountaintops (800-1,200 meters) of Sayabouli’s Nam Phui National Protected Area moving camp every week to seek food.
The Tai Dam are an ethnic minority predominantly from northwest Vietnam and Laos. They are part of the Tai peoples and ethnically similar to the Thai from Thailand and the Lao from Laos. Tai Dam means “Black Tai”. This name comes from the black clothing worn by the group, especially females. The Tai Dam’s language is similar to Lao, but Tai Dam use their own unique writing system and traditionally rejected Buddhism. According to the Tai Dam’s creation story, the […]
The Lao Loum: Lao Lum, is an official Lao People’s Democratic Republic designation for lowland dwelling Tai peoples, including the majority Lao people. The Lao Loum, literally meaning “lowland Lao,” are the inhabitants of the river valleys and lowlands along the Mekong River and make up over 68% of the population of Laos, of whom, half are of the Lao ethnic group. Other members categorised as Lao Loum are the other large Tai groups, such as the Phuan and Phuthai […]