Tai Khun in Laos

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Most likely the Khun River, which flows through their homeland, lent its name to the Khun people. The Khun people themselves are said to have a "deep and strongly rooted culture of self-determination. Their homeland has been their center of civilization for many centuries." Kengtung City has been the main center of habitation for the Khun since a son of the Lanna King Mengrai founded the Kingdom of Kengtung in the 12th century. The ancestors of the Khun in Thailand were war captives brought from Myanmar in the early 1800s.

Joachim Schliesinger says that the Khun in Thailand inhabit four districts (Muang, San Pa Tong, Sam Lang and Hang Dong) in Chiang Mai Province. Part of the reason for this confusion is that the Tai-speaking groups in the Kengtung valley area in Myanmar's Shan State—where the Khun live—seem to be ethnically, culturally and linguistically interrelated. They now live either in Laos or Thailand.

What Are Their Lives Like?

We know little about the daily lives of the Tai Kaleun people, but they probably live like the other peoples in this part of Southeast Asia.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Although the large majority of Khun people are Theravada Buddhists, their religious worldview includes strong elements of spirit worship and ancestor worship. "The most important spirit is the spirit of the land, which has to be propitiated daily with food and beverage, at the spirit house found in almost every Khun compound. The Khun honor ancestral spirits. On the full moon in June, Khun villagers worship their ancestors with offerings of boiled pork meat, chicken, fruit, rice and flowers at a special altar inside their houses."

What Are Their Needs?

In the past few decades, a significant Christian churches has emerged in Myanmar's Shan State. Thousands of people from ethnic groups such as the Shan, Akha and Lahu have put their trust in Christ. As a result, some Khun have heard the gospel, and some are Christian believers today. In 1997, the Christian mission Asia Harvest supplied New Testaments to the Khun Christians in Myanmar. The Bibles were in the Lu script of 1933, but the Khun were able to read it easily and were deeply appreciative. One Khun pastor said, 'Before now the Buddhist monks mocked us, saying, "If your God is so great, how come his book is not in our language?" Now that we have God's Word in our script, the monks have requested hundreds of copies and are studying the words of Jesus intently."

Prayer Points

Pray for Buddhist monks to allow God's word to penetrate their hearts so they can accept the abundant life of Christ.

Pray for God's word to spread far and wide in Tai Khun communities.

Pray God will have mercy on the Tai Khun, doing whatever it takes to place them in a position to receive him.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Scripture Prayers for the Tai Khun in Laos.


Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Tai Khun
People Name in Country Tai Khun
Alternate Names Gon Shan; Hkun; Khoen; Khouen; Khuen; Khun Shan; Kween; Tai Khoen
Population this Country 800
Population all Countries 139,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 12111
ROP3 Code 103841
ROP25 Code 303054
ROP25 Name Hkun (Khun)
Country Laos
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Louangphabang province: sacred temple area.   Source:  Ethnologue 2018
Country Laos
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Louangphabang province: sacred temple area..   Source:  Ethnologue 2018
Map of Tai Khun in Laos Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent
96.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 2.00 %)
4.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Khun (800 speakers)
Language Code kkh   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Khun (800 speakers)
Language Code kkh   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Khun

Primary Language:  Khun

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1938)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: Ethnologue Text. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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