Thai, Central in Laos





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Although most experts in Laos do not believe there to be any Central Thai speakers in the country except for obvious cases such as embassy workers and businessmen, in fact there are a small number of Central Thais, "living along the Mekong in parts of Laos".

The Thais in Laos referred to here are not the same language group as the Lao Isan or Tai Yuan in Laos. They have come across the Mekong River to trade in Laos and to own cheap land. The Thai can be found in the Phontong District of Chasmpasak Province, in Savannakhet City of Savannakhet Province, and in Vientiane City, the capital of Laos.

In 1995, at the time of national census, there were 2,343 Thai citizens in Laos. This figure includes tourists and businessmen who were in Laos.

Many Thai in Laos earn their living from the bounty of the Mekong River. In parts of the river, the Paa Beuk (giant catfish) is caught every year between mid-April and May when the river is at its lowest. The giant catfish is believed to be the largest fresh-water fish in the world, measuring up to three meters (10 feet) in length and weighing up to 300 kg (660 pounds). A single fish can fetch up to US$ 4500 when sold to restaurants in Bangkok. In recent years the number of catfish caught has decreased to between 40-60 per season, suggesting that they will soon be unavailable.

The identity of the Thai people is wrapped up in their adherence to Buddhism. It is a common saying that "To be Thai is to be Buddhist". This cultural-religious tie has prevented many Thais from becoming Christians and has given Thailand a reputation for being a graveyard for missions.

When Thai monks enter the monk hood they must agree to follow the Ten Precepts of Buddhism. These are: "I take the vow not to destroy life; I take the vow not to steal; I take the vow to abstain from impurity; I take the vow not to lie; I take the vow to abstain form intoxicating drinks, which hinder progress and virtue; I take the vow to abstain from dancing and singing, music and stage plays; I take the vow not to use garlands, scents, unguents, or ornaments; I take the vow not to use a high or broad bed; I take the vow not to receive gold or silver".

Prayer Points

* Pray God will have mercy on the Thai, doing whatever it takes to place them in a position to receive Him.
* Ask God to send Thai believers from Thailand to reach the Thai in Laos.
* Pray that God's Kingdom would come to people living along the entire length of the mighty Mekong River.

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

People Name General Thai, Central
People Name in Country Thai, Central
Population in Laos 143,000
World Population 19,957,000
Countries 24
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bangkok Thai, Central Tai, Khon Tai, Lao Song, Siamese, Siamese Thai, Tai Noi, Thai Khom, Thai Klang, Thai Song
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Thai
People Name General Thai, Central
Ethnic Code MSY49d
People ID 11277
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 Champasak and Savannakhet provinces, Vientiane City. Phontong district..   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Thai (143,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Thai 143,000
For Primary Language: Thai

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1834-1967)
New Testament Yes   (1843-1977)
Complete Bible Yes   (1883-2011)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Visuals General
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Biblica Thai Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Holy Bible Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Thai Standard Version Revision Text / Printed Matter
Bible: พระคัมภีร์ภาษาไทยฉบับ KJV Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Central Thai Language Film Film / Video
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Gods Simple Plan General
Got Questions Ministry General
International Bible Society Text / Printed Matter
Jesus Film: view in Thai Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Buddhism

Major Religion Percent
95.40 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.30 %)
0.60 %
Ethnic Religions
3.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
1.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
11.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
44.0 %
Roman Catholic
45.0 %
Photo Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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