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Other names: Lao Boc and Lao Noi


11,611 people


Concentrated in Dien Bien City (Dien Bien Province); Phong Tho and Than Uyen districts (Lai Chau Province); Song Ma District (Son La Province).

Customs & Habits

The Lao worship their ancestors and practice Buddhism. The Lao often take the family names of Lo, Luong, or Vi. Children take the family name of their father. When a person dies, they organize a funeral ceremony and burial is careful. Cremation occurs only if the deceased is the chief of a “muong” or a “ban” (village).


The Lao language belongs to the Tay-Thai Group. The “mo lam” (sorcerers) of Lao culture is very good at writing and narrating ancient tales and folk songs. Lao folklore and its legacy are heavily influenced by Thai culture. Lao perform “lam vong” (Lao folk dance) during festivals and ceremonies.


Women wear black skirts that are knotted at the front and come up to their chests. The hems are usually decorated with two bands of embroidered motifs in different colours. Lao men used to have a Han script and an animal tattooed on their wrist and thighs.


The Lao primarily grow rice in submerged fields using advanced techniques such as ploughing, harrowing and irrigating. Additional family income comes from weaving, blacksmithing, pottery, and silver production.