Ethnic Minorities in Laos

Despite its small population, Laos has no fewer than 68 ethnic groups. About half of the population in Laos are Lao Loum.

Lao Lum, literally "lowland Lao," live in the river plains, mostly along the Mekong. Twelve ethnic groups make up the Lao Lum, including the Lao, Phouan, Leu, T’ai Dam, T’ai Deng, T'ai Khao, T’ai Meuy, T’ai Neua, T’ai Nyee, Yung and Seak.

Lao Theung (20-30% of the population), or "upland Lao", live on mid-altitude slopes (officially defined as 300-900m) and are by far the poorest group, formerly used as slave labor by the Lao Loum. The Lao Theung comprise 36 ethnic groups, among them the Khmu, Samaed, Bid, Phong, Puak, Yru, Phounoy, Kaseng, Doy, Phai, Makong, Katang, Pakoh, Lawain, Lawae, Nyahern, Trui, Soo, Sapuan, Sok, Trew, Taliang, Taoy, Aluck, Katoo, Yae, Suay, Cheng, Darkung, Lawee, Lawuck, Oy, Tongleuang, Kado, Thin and Sarmtao.

Lao Sung (10-30% of the population) are primarily Hmong and Mien tribes

Lao Sung (10-30% of the population) are primarily Hmong and Mien tribes who live higher up in the mountains and who migrated into Laos to avoid oppression in China about 200 years ago. Due to the lack of land and the warmer climate, the Lao Sung have been living in rougher mountain areas since then. They are also very known in the neighbouring countries as well. There are also an estimated 2-5% Chinese and Vietnamese, concentrated in the cities living in Laos. And it’s getting more, especially Chinese people who come to invest and do trade or transfer forest into plantations. Lao Sung comprise Hmong, Yao, and Akha.



Years Experiences


Tour Packages


Happy Customers


Award Winning


For unique travel ideas and an insider's eye on all things
Southeast Asia, subscribe to our Asia Mystika e-Newsletter.

Follow Us

Cookie Consent

button cookies

We use cookies to improve your experience. You consent to the use of our cookies if you proceed. For more information, please visit Cookie Policy

Leave An Email
Customize Your Trip