Lao People


- Population: 6.5 million.
- Density: 23 people/square kilometer.
- The population consists of 49 ethnic groups, in 4 main linguistic.

The Lao-Tai Family includes 08 ethnic groups: Lao, Phouthai, Tai, Lue, Gnouane, Young, Saek and Thai Neua.
The Mon-Khmer Family includes 32 ethnic groups: Khmu, Pray, Singmou, Khom, Thene, Idou, Bid, Lamed, Samtao, Katang, Makong, Try, Trieng, Ta-oi, Yeh, Brao, Harak, Katou, Oi, Krieng, Yrou, Souai, Gnaheune, Lavy, Kabkae, Khmer, Toum, Ngouane, Meuang and Kri.
The Tibeto-Burmese Family includes 07 ethnic groups: Akha, Singsali, Lahou, Sila, Hayi, Lolo and Hor.
The Hmong-Loumien category has 02 main tribes: Hmong and Loumien (Yao).These multi-ethnic people are scattered across the country each with their own unique traditions, culture and language.

Lao people are frank, open and friendly, and they possess a strongly developed sense of courtesy and respect. Everyone who adheres to the latter will receive a warm welcome.

The generally accepted form of greeting among Lao people is the Nop. It is performed by placing one’s palms together in a position of praying at chest level, but not touching the body. The higher the hands, the greater the sign of respect. Nonetheless, the hands should not be held above the level of the nose. The nop is accompanied by a slight bow to show respect to persons of higher status and age. It is also used as an expression of thanks, regret or saying good-bye. But with western people it is acceptable to shake hands.