Tai Lue people

The Tai Lü people (Tai Lue: ᦺᦑᦟᦹᧉ, Chinese: 傣仂, Dǎi lè, Lao: ລື້, ̄, Thai: ไทลื้อ, RTGS: Thai Lue, Vietnamese: Người Lự) are an ethnic group of China, Laos, Thailand, Burma and Vietnam. They speak a Southwestern Tai language.

Tai Lue
Total population
Regions with significant populations
China (Xishuangbanna), Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand (Northern Thailand) and Vietnam (Lai Châu Province)
 China280,000 (2000) classified as Dai
 Laos126,229 (2015) classified as Lue[1]
 Thailand1,000,000 (2001) classified as Thai Lue
 Burma60,000 (2013) classified as Shan
 Vietnam6,757 (2019) classified as Lự[2]
 United States4,000 (1998)[3]
Tai LüChineseBurmeseLaotianThaiNorthern ThaiVietnamese
Related ethnic groups
Tai peoples Shan people Tai Nuea


The word (ລື້) is similar to the Lao people in the Tai Lü language. Tai Lü can be written as Tai Lue, Dai Le and Dai Lue. They are also known as Xishuangbanna Dai, Sipsongpanna Tailurian and Tai Sipsongpanna. The word Lue (Thai: เหนือ Tai Lue: ᦟᦹᧉ) in the Tai languages means "north", thus their ethnonym means Northern Tai which they share with Tai Nua people.


In Vietnam, most Lu live in Lai Châu Province and their population was 5,601 in 2009. In China, they are officially recognized as part of the Dai ethnic group. The 2000 census counted about 280,000 Dai people speaking Lü language. The population in Thailand, where they are called Thai Lue (Thai: ไทลื้อ), was in 2001 estimated to be approximately 83,000.[4] Most Thai Lue in Thailand live in Nan, Chiang Rai, Phayao and Chiang Mai Province. They sing khap lue (Thai: ไทลื้อขับ, Thai pronunciation: [Thị lụ̄̂x k̄hạb]) and play pi mae (Thai: ปี่แม่) - free reed wind bamboo instrument.

In Vietnam, Lu are the indigenous people in Mường Thanh ("Land of the God of Tai people", Tai Lü: muong theng). They had built Tam Vạn wall in Mường Thanh and managed there for 19 generations before Hoàng Công Chất, a Thái leader, came. Nowadays, nearly all Vietnamese Lu live in Lai Châu Province. The Lu take their father's last name and have the middle name Bạ (for males) and Ý (for females). Their religion is Theravada Buddhism.

Tai Lü Kingdom

Names Capital
Tseng Mai Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Tseng Hai Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand
Tseng Hung Jinghong, Yunnan Province, China
Xieng Thong Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang Province, Laos
Tseng Tung Kengtung, Shan State, Myanmar


  1. "Results of Population and Housing Census 2015" (PDF). Lao Statistics Bureau. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  2. "Report on Results of the 2019 Census". General Statistics Office of Vietnam. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  3. Tai Lue, Infomekong.com
  4. Johnstone and Mandryk 2001; cited in "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Online version" (18th ed.). SIL International.
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