Thai Ethnic Group


Like the Tay, the Thai originated in southern China before settling along fertile riverbeds which were used for irrigation purposes. Theories vary on the Thai's relationship to the Thais of Siam (Thailand), as do the reference to colors in the sub-groupings such as the Red, Black and White Thai. Some contend that the colors correspond to those of the women’s skirts, while others believe the names come from the nearby Black and Red Rivers. The Black Thai are predominant in Sonla while the White Thai are concentrated in Hoabinh. Black Thai women are recognizable by vibrantly colored blouses and head dresses, while the White Thai tend to dress in less colorful gear or modern clothing; most Thai men dress as the ethnic-Vietnamese do.

Villages typically have 40 to 50 bamboo-stilt households. The Thai, using a script developed in the 5th century, have produced literature ranging from poetry and love songs to folk tales. Those staying overnight in Ban Las (Mai Chau District) should be able to catch a performance of some of their renowned music and dance.