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Travel around northern Laos, Phongsaly, Luang Namtha....Laos
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Ethnic Diversity in Phongsaly Province, Laos


Phongsaly is well-known for its colourfully dressed minorities. The population is officially made up of 28 different ethnic groups, but if we were to count them in the way the people identify themselves there would be more than 40. Many of them came from elsewhere, mostly from China, fleeing wars and famine during the 19th Century. In Phongsaly Town, the two main ethnic groups are the Phunoy, and the Hor, descendants of the old Yunnan traders. Thai Dam people are mostly found in Muang Mai district, Yao, Hor and Lolo people in Gnot Ou district. Many Khmu live in Muang Khua and Samphan districts. They are at least 14 different groups of Akha and related people. Most of their villages are remote up in the mountains, some of them constituting a perfect trekking destination. Akha people practice spirit worship and several taboos are to be respected in their villages. The Museum of Tribe provides detailed information about the different ethnic groups, their origin and way of life (on-line information available!)