THE THAI

This group is divided into two groups – the White Thai and the Black Thai – and are said to have subgroups within each one. You can tell the differences in the two groups by their costume designs and architecture. They are also said to have different physical features, which helps to distinguish them. Both groups live in lowlands, close to the river. The Thai were among the first ethnic groups known to live in the north of Vietnam and perhaps because of that they have greatly influenced other groups around them, such as the O Du, Kho Mu, Khang, Xinh Mun and La Ha.

I went to Nghe An province to meet the O Du but by chance I ended up meeting the Thai and made a connection with the woman in this picture. During our conversation, I discovered that she is married to a man from the O Du ethnic group. I was eagerly invited into their village where I got to feel a strong sense of cultural pride. I found the Thai people to be open, friendly and resourceful. They used to grow cotton and continue to take great pride in their textiles. The women in each family that I met still own a costume; though I also learned that some O Du make traditional costumes for the Thai. This group seems to have especially good relationships with their neighbors the O Du and the Kho Mu.

 

Population

1,550,423 (Census 2009)

Location

Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La, Hoa Binh, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa Provinces

Arrival

Migrated from southern China from the 7th to the 13th century