Alak in Laos

Joshua Project has identified the Alak only in Laos






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

More than 17,000 people belonging to the Alak ethnic group live in southern Laos. The highest concentration of Alak is found in Xekong Province. Others are found in Saravan and Attapu provinces. Many communities in the area are difficult to visit because of lack of roads, although in one location, foreign tourists can visit an Alak village by riding elephants from Tadlo Resort for 5,000 kip ($1) per hour. In some places the Alak have integrated with the Katu and it is difficult to tell the two groups apart.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Alak like to arrange their palm and thatch houses in a circle around a communal house. Many work on coffee plantations that were planted by the French in the early 1900's. Others work on rubber and banana plantations.

The Alak have retained most of their customs and many women wear traditional dress. In the past, Alak women tattooed their faces, but this custom is now dying out. Alak society is traditionally matriarchal. The women lead the family, keep control of finances, and make all major decisions that affect the community.

There are several clans among the Alak, named after certain types of animals such as pigs, buffalos and chickens. These animals are considered sacred by the members of each clan, who are not allowed to eat them.

The Alak, along with the Talieng, Lavae and Katu, participate in the annual Buffalo-Sacrifice Ceremony. Annual festivals are also held to honor the spirits who protect their villages. In times of sickness or calamity, or if a poor crop is produced, the Alak believe they have provoked the spirits and a ceremony is held in order to find the offended deity. A chicken is boiled and a shaman summoned to study the liver patterns and stomachs of the chicken. This form of divination is believed to be able to pinpoint the spirit that caused the disaster.

There are only a tiny number of known Christians among the Alak in Laos. Most Alak have never heard the Gospel in a manner they can easily comprehend. Gospel recordings exist in five different Alak dialects. These audio tools are a great help to people wishing to take the Gospel to this group. Just over a third of Alak (one-fifth of the women) are able to read.

Prayer Points

* Ask God to raise up a triumphant Alak church for the sake of His glorious Name.
* Ask God to send Christians to live among the Alak.
* Pray winds of revival would blow through the numerous unreached Mon-Khmer groups in southern Laos.

Profile Source:   Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Alak
People Name in Country Alak
Population in Laos 4,900
World Population 4,900
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Alack, Hrlak, Krlak
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mon-Khmer
People Name General Alak
Ethnic Code AUG03z
People ID 10243
Country Laos
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 28  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Xekong and Saravan provinces, Thateng, Lamam, Karum, Dakchung, and Saravan districts.   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Alak (4,900)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Alak 4,900
For Primary Language: Alak

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.