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The Akha People of Northern Laos: A window to a disappearing culture

  • Peter Milne

    Contributor

Laos   /   Sun, November 11 2012   /  02:37 pm

The Akha village of Saen Khan Kham.Spread across the northern reaches of Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Thailand, and into southern China, in a region that has long been isolated and neglected, the hills are largely the preserve of a scattering of animist tribal people who have moved south from China over the past two centuries.

They included the Hmong, Mien, Lenten, Lahu and Akha, who generally survive by slash-and-burn clearing of the forest on the steep and inaccessible slopes, growing most of what they need and bartering with the lowlanders for anything else.

Thanks to its recent accessibility, the north of Laos is one of the best locations to experience some of these cultures that still have only occasional contact with foreigners.

Under threat from land concessions given to the Chinese who can cross the border with ease, as well as government drives to integrate them...