Many indigenous groups throughout the North West region of Thailand are located adjacent to the mountains in the region. These groups have their respective languages and language varieties, yet these language and varieties sit largely within the Mon Khmer or Tai families (subfamilies at times). Furthermore, as is largely the case in current society, the residents of these communities speak more than one language, including English and Northern Thai. Warfare and resettlement have encouraged the development of social displacement for these peoples, 

As these groups mostly emigrated from China, they mixed with populations between China and their current location, and there has thus been significant mixing.


Living in these mountainous regions, the communities are largely agrarian. Yet, this lifestyle of slash and burn has denigrated the quality of the folioage and plantation in hthe region, as the communities have not addressed the issue of sustainability, ulitmately bringing the people to shift location frequently.

Contributing to the development and longevity of these villages and their peoples are languages connected to their practices, such as opium harvesting, some livestock, and vegetable farming. As with any ‘modern’ society, the tribes have a heirarchy throughout society, where the affluent style of living is present, and while peopith who are lower in the socioeconomic stratification live in much simpler and less well constructed homes.