Pacoh in Laos






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Thirteen thousand, two hundred members of the Pacoh ethnic group were counted in the 1995 Lao census. They live in an extremely remote mountainous area near the Vietnam border. At least several thousand Pacoh are also located inside Vietnam, where they are part of the official Ta Oi minority.

In Laos, the Pacoh inhabit the northern part of Saravan Province (Samouay District) and the southern part of Savannakhet Province (Nong District).

The Pacoh, whose name may mean 'mountaineers', are slash-and-burn agriculturists. They do not know how to weave, so they buy their clothing from the Kantua and other groups.

The Pacoh language is part of the Eastern Mon-Khmer linguistic branch. About 70% of Pacoh are mono-lingual, meaning they cannot speak any other language except their own. Only about 15-25% of Pacoh adults are able to read.

The Pacoh live in stilted houses in groups of ten homes, called vel. Each village has a communal house where social activities take place. Men go there to drink, receive guests, and boast about their hunting achievements.

After a long day in the field, the Pacoh love to come together and relax with singing and dancing. Traditional songs, called oat, express their joys and sorrows. They sing of the struggles their forefathers endured and the oppression and hostility they have faced from other ethnic groups who desired to take them as slaves. They have many poems, proverbs and puzzles that tell of the struggle between good and evil, and the true love and dedication between men and women.

The Pacoh are animists. Sprit-houses are constructed on the outskirts of every village. The Pacoh pray to numerous gods, ghosts and deities for the protection and blessing of their communities, harvests and animals.

Although there are about 100 Pacoh Christians in Vietnam, none of their counterparts in Laos have believed. The Gospels of Mark and John were translated into Pacoh by missionaries in 1965, but it is not known how many Pacoh in Laos could read it. The Pacoh are a needy, unreached people.

Prayer Points

* Pray for light of the Gospel to clearly shine among them.
* Ask the Lord of Lords to glorify Himself among the Pacoh.
* Pray for a turning to Christ to occur among the superstitious Pacoh people in both Laos and Vietnam.

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

People Name General Pacoh
People Name in Country Pacoh
Population in Laos 21,000
World Population 40,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bo, Bo River Van Kieu, Pako, River Van Kieu, Ta-ôi, Van Kieu
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mon-Khmer
People Name General Pacoh
Ethnic Code AUG03z
People ID 14249
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 Saravan and Savannakhet provinces, Samouay and Nong districts..   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Pacoh: Pahi (21,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Pacoh: Pahi 21,000
For Primary Language: Pacoh

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1965-1969)
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Sounds of Vietnam 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: Asia Harvest   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
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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