There are three major ethnic groups, the Hmong, living in the highest areas, the Khmu, living in the middle, and the Lao, living in the lowlands. There are many more ethnic groups in Laos, a total of over 100.

The main staple for all groups is rice. It is planted and harvested once in the mountains. In some lowland areas they plant and harvest two crops per year.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Hmong Tribe

In the first Hmong village near Luang Prabang, the Hmong were moved to this area about 15 years ago from their highland area. This is a showcase village, most of the people there wear traditional dresses, presumably for the tourists. The second village that I visited was in the mountains west of Phonsavan. This was a normal village.

The Hmong houses have typically only one floor. The floor of the rooms is the ground, without any cover. The houses don't have windows. They don't have a chimney, even though they have a fireplace in the main room for cooking and heating. Seeds for next years planting are hung over the fire to protect them from pests. The roofs are usually straw covered. The roof covers have to be replaced every 4 years.

Hmong men can marry many wifes. It is easy to marry, the men don't need a dowry.

Hmong Village West Phonsavan
Hmong village west of Phonsavan. (842k)
Typical Hmong House Floor
Typical Hmong house, with just one floor. (1099k)
Typical Hmong House Floor
Typical Hmong house, with just one floor. (1019k)
Interior Hmong House Fireplace
Interior of a Hmong house with the fireplace and next years seeds above the fireplace. (688k)
Interior Hmong House Fireplace
Interior of a Hmong house with the fireplace and next years seeds above the fireplace. (666k)
Raised Storage Shed Protect
Raised storage shed, to protect it from animals. (896k)
Hmong Family
Hmong family. (841k)
Hmong Man Boys
Hmong man with boys. (876k)
Older Hmong Woman
Older Hmong woman. (703k)
Hmong Woman
Hmong woman. (664k)
Hmong Woman
Hmong woman. (526k)
Hmong Woman Doing Embroidery
Hmong woman doing embroidery. (851k)
Hmong Girls Doing Embroidery
Hmong girls doing embroidery. (1189k)
Older Hmong Girl
older Hmong girl. (776k)
Hmong Children
Hmong children. (776k)
Hmong Boys
Hmong boys. (878k)
Hmong Girl
Hmong girl. (813k)
Hmong Girl Showing Off
Hmong girl showing off her traditional dress. (1051k)
Close-up Hmong Girl Traditional
Close-up of Hmong girl in traditional dress. (840k)
Girl Baby Hmong Girls
Girl with a baby. Hmong girls marry early, so it could actually be her own child. (1011k)
Hmong Child
Hmong child. (813k)
Hmong Children Selling Embroidery
Hmong children selling their embroidery. (1064k)
Hmong Boys Playing Tree
Hmong boys playing in a tree. (1161k)
Hmong Boy Winding Top
Hmong boy, winding a top. (831k)
Hmong Man Smoking Cigarette
Hmong man smoking a cigarette through a contraption similar to a water pipe. (841k)
Hmong Children Doing Laundry
Hmong children doing laundry in the river. (986k)
Drying Rice
Drying rice. (971k)
Roofing Material
Roofing material. (1056k)
Ducks Village
Ducks in the village. (1061k)
Chicken Pigs
Chicken and pigs. (900k)

Khmu Tribe

The Khmu is an ethic group that lives in the middle altitudes in the mountains. Their houses have a raised floor. The area below the floor of the main room is used for storage of various things, including wood and livestock.

I visited two Khmu villages, one on the drive from Luang Prabang to Phonsavan, the other on the drive from Phonsavan to Vangvieng.

View Khmu Village Across
View of the Khmu village across the river. (1027k)
View Khmu Village See
View of the Khmu village. You can see the style of the houses with the raised floor and the storage area under the floor. (1162k)
Khmu Woman Doing Embroidery
Khmu woman doing embroidery with gold thread. (670k)
Khmu Children
Khmu children. (889k)
Khmu Children
Khmu children. (799k)
Fish Trap River Next
Fish trap in the river next to the Khmu village. (982k)
View Khmu Village
View of the Khmu village. (1252k)
Khmu House Raised Floor
Khmu house with raised floor. (1191k)
Storage Shed Bottom Part
Storage shed, the bottom part can be locked to keep animals. (1159k)
School Building
School building. (1054k)
Khmu Woman Making Brooms
Khmu woman making brooms. (954k)
Khmu Girls
Khmu girls. (663k)
Khmu Boys
Khmu boys. (874k)
Khmu Kid
Khmu kid. (831k)
Pigs
Pigs. (906k)
Chickens
Chickens. (1109k)

Alak Tribe

In the Bolaven Plateau I visited a village of the Alak tribe. Houses were similar to the Khmu houses with raised floors. Most Alak are animists, believing in nature as religion.

View Village
View of the village. (972k)
Village
In the village. (785k)
Village
In the village. (808k)
Spirit House Each Village
Spirit House. Each village has a spirit house. (972k)
Local Kids
Local kids. (776k)
Little Girl
Little girl. (983k)
Making Roofing Material
Making roofing material. (1197k)
Pigs
Pigs. (1078k)

Ngae Tribe

In the Bolaven Plateau I visited a village of the Ngae tribe. Houses were similar to the Khmu houses with raised floors. Most Ngae are animists, believing in nature as religion.

Large House
Large house. (1050k)
House Storage Shed
House with storage shed. (1079k)
Spirit House
Spirit House. (1095k)
Adults
Adults. (822k)
Old Man Working Fishing
Old man working on fishing gear. (877k)
Ngae Woman
Ngae woman. (652k)
Ngae Boys
Ngae boys. (844k)
Ngae Girls
Ngae girls. (912k)
Ngae Girls
Ngae girls. (656k)
Ngae Girl
Ngae girl. (596k)
Ngae Girl
Ngae girl. (1094k)
Washing Hair
Washing her hair. (780k)
Kids Playing Cut-open Water
Kids playing with cut-open water cannisters. (1078k)

Katu Tribe

Houses were similar to the Khmu houses with raised floors.

The main economic activity in the Katu village was weaving. The women made elaborate fabric, with beads woven into the fabric.

Each house has a coffin in the storage area under the main floor, in preparation for the death or a senior family member.

View Katu Village
View of the Katu village. (847k)
Katu House
Katu house. (782k)
Coffin Under Houses
Coffin under one of the houses. (947k)
Drying Cassava
Drying cassava. (936k)
Drying Coffee Beans
Drying coffee beans. (1043k)
Weaving
Weaving. (1110k)
Weaving
Weaving. (862k)
Katu Woman
Katu woman. (976k)
School Children
School children. (1297k)
Katu Boy
Katu boy. (922k)
Katu Girl
Katu girl. (1188k)
Katu Kid
Katu kid. (587k)

Tai Dam Tribe (from China)

This village is known for making the rice noodles. Women can make as much as $500 per month by making rice noodles.

Cooking Rice
Cooking the rice. (674k)
Spreading Rice Paste Stove
Spreading the rice paste on the stove while holding the roll with the previous sheet to cool off. (635k)
Rolling Finished Sheet Stove
Rolling the finished sheet from the stove onto a roller. (624k)
Rolling Finished Sheet Bamboo
Rolling the finished sheet on the bamboo drying frame. (768k)
Inspecting Drying Sheets Sheets
Inspecting the drying sheets. The sheets take 1-3 days too dry, depending on the weather. (898k)
Selling Finished Noodles
Selling the finished noodles. (979k)

Ban Xang Hai Village

This village is also known as the Whiskey Village. The specialty of the village is the production of the local rice whiskey. I don't know what the ethnic group of the village is. My guide said Lou, but I can't find any such ethnic group.

Distillery
Distillery. (825k)
Whiskey Various Critters Supposed
Whiskey with various critters. It is supposed to give you strength. Unfortunately they frequently use endangered animals in their whiskey. (881k)
Drying Freshly Dyed Silk
Drying freshly dyed silk yarn. (1076k)
Rolling Silk Thread Onto
Rolling silk thread onto a spindle for use in the loom. (827k)
Woman Working Loom
Woman working a loom. (726k)
Woman Working Loom
Woman working a loom. (931k)
Local Girl
Local girl. (932k)
View Temple
View of the temple. (929k)
View Temple Grounds Temple
View of the temple grounds temple. (817k)
Staircase Flanked Nagas
Staircase flanked by Nagas. (967k)
Three Headed Naga Being
Three headed Naga being devoured by a snake. According to legend, the snake gave up when the Naga grew three heads, it was just too much. (940k)
Buddha Statue Meditation Pose
Buddha statue in the meditation pose under a seven headed Naga. (1037k)
Wall Paintings Temple Depicting
Wall paintings in the temple, depicting scenes from the life of Buddha. (987k)
Wall Paintings Temple Depicting
Wall paintings in the temple, depicting scenes from the life of Buddha. (768k)
Wall Paintings Temple Depicting
Wall paintings in the temple, depicting scenes from the life of Buddha. (805k)
Wall Paintings Temple
Wall paintings in the temple. (952k)
Wall Paintings Temple
Wall paintings in the temple. (1011k)
Shrine Monkey God
Shrine to a monkey god. (910k)
Only Monk Templemonastery Only
The only monk in the temple/monastery. He has only one apprentice. (681k)

This page contains 104 pictures

Laos
Main page for ເມືອງ ລາວ (Laos)

Page last updated on Tue Sep 24 18:19:03 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)


Ethnic Villages on guenther-eichhorn.com


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