Prai in Thailand





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Approximately 15,000 Phai live in two widespread areas of northern Laos. One group live in Phongsali Province, the northernmost province of Laos, in the Boun-Tai, Boun-Nua, Phongsali and Samphan districts. A large number of Phai also live in Xaignabouri Province, further south. They live in the Hongsa, Xaignabouri and Phiang districts of Xaignabouri Province.

Thailand is reported to contain 31,000 Phai people, but this number may be too high. Research into the Phai is often made difficult because the Lao and Thai call them and the Mal people by the same name, Htin. They also call them Kha Phai, which is a derogatory name.

According to one source, the Phai in Xaignabouri are different from those in Laos, but the Phai of Phongsali are the same culturally and linguistically. The Phai of Phongsali have also been influenced by their neighbors, the Phunoi.

The Phai are generally known as a poverty-stricken and despised people, with a poor sense of self-worth. In some places they have hired themselves out to Hmong and Mien as menial laborers. Their hard lives contribute to their generally dejected appearance. Whatever property or wealth a Phai family is able to gather is inherited by the youngest daughter.

The Phai "typically subsist by hunting for wild game, breeding domestic animals and farming small plots of land. Since metal is taboo in their culture, they are particularly skilled at manipulating bamboo to make everything needed around the house; for floor mats and baskets they interweave pared bamboo with a black-colored grass to create bold geometric patterns."

There is some Buddhist influence among the Phai in Laos. Several villages are reported to have temples, but the majority of Phai remain bound to superstition, traditions, and a host of evil spirits that they feel forced to continually placate.

There are about 100 known Phai believers in Laos. Most of these came to Christ in refugee camps in Thailand, and were later repatriated back to Laos.

Prayer Points

* Pray God would breath His life and fire into the few known Phai believers in Laos.
* Pray the Phai would be set free from the evil spirits and traditions that have bound them for centuries.

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

People Name General Prai
People Name in Country Prai
Population in Thailand 20,000
World Population 48,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Phai, Phay, Prai, Pray, Thung Chan Pray
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mon-Khmer
People Name General Prai
Ethnic Code AUG03z
People ID 14377
Country Thailand
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country North, Nan Province, Thung Chang, Chalerm Prakiat, Chiang Klang, Bo Klua, Pua districts.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Prai (20,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Prai 20,000
For Primary Language: Prai

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
99.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
10.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
45.0 %
Roman Catholic
45.0 %
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.