Khmu Village near Luang Prabang
There is a Khmu village 40 km north of Luang Prabang, called Ban Huay Lo. To get there, often, the passengers must trek through trails that pass through rice paddies, forest and waterfalls. The tranquil scenes and spectacular landscapes fir perfect with a local lunch. For people with more minds for an adventure, they can continue trekking up to reach the Khmu and Hmong villages on the top of the mountain.
About Khmu people
The Khmu, who are also known as Khamu or Kammu, were the indigenous inhabitants of northern Laos. Today, (2010) it is estimated that there are more than 800,000 Khmu around the world: 700,000 in Laos, 50,000 in northern Vietnam, 15,000 in northern Thailand, 7,000 in China, 1,500 in France and another 8,000 in the USA. In Laos, the Khmu form the second largest ethnic group. Only the Lao population is larger. The Khmu are found mainly in Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Phongsaly, and Xieng Khouang provinces, but some Khmu also live in Vientiane, Sayaboury, Bokeo and Borikhamxay, Sayabury provinces. In Thailand, Khmu are found in the northern provinces of Chiang Rai, Lampang and Nan, near the Thailand-Laos border.
The Khmu are settled agriculturists and practice swidden farming. Agriculture is the main source of food, supplemented by gathering, hunting, trapping and fishing. Some Khmu keep domestic animals, but these are used for sacrifices more often than for food. Rice is the staple and there are many varieties, all of them glutinous. Other crops include corn, bananas, sugar cane and a wide variety of vegetables.