Amazing scenes during our travels in rural Laos
The Lao people or Laotians are a Tai ethnic group native to Southeast Asia, who speak the eponymous language of the Kra–Dai languages, originating from present-day southern China. They are the majority ethnic group of Laos, making up 53.2% of the total population. The majority of Lao people adhere to Theravada Buddhism. They are closely related to other Tai peoples, especially (or synonymous) with the Isan people, who are also speakers of Lao language, but native to neighboring Thailand.
In Western historiography, terms Lao people and Laotian have had a loose meaning. Both terms were irregularly applied both to all natives of Laos in general, aside from or alongside ethnic Lao during different periods in history; since the end of the French rule in Laos in 1953, Lao has been applied solely to the ethnic group while Laotian refers to any citizen of Laos regardless of their ethnic identity. Certain countries still conflate the terms in their statistics.