10 Creepy And Captivating Lao Myths And Folktales!

Welcome back to our language-learning journey as you step into the fascinating world of Lao myths and folktales. If you’ve been enjoying learning the beautiful tones of the Lao language, get ready to dive into the creepy realm of ancient stories that have been passed down through generations.

From eerie spirits to captivating legends, let’s explore 10 of the creepiest and most interesting traditional Lao stories, sprinkled with some Lao vocabulary to enhance your language learning experience!

Top 10 Lao Myths And Folktales

lao myths and folktales

#1 Nang Tani And The Ghostly Garden 

Origin: Thailand-Lao Border Region (Northeast Thailand)

Prepare to be spooked by the tale of Nang Tani, a ghostly lady who haunts a mysterious garden. Naeng taanii (ແນງຕານີ), as she’s called, has a penchant for appearing at night, her ethereal beauty juxtaposed against her eerie, supernatural nature. Legend has it that her origins trace back to a tragic love story, resulting in her spectral presence among the lush nature of Laos.

#2 Phi Kongkoi – The Cursed Wooden Doll 

Origin: Vientiane, Laos 

Among the shadows of Vientiane emerges Phi Kongkoi, a malevolent spirit bound to a wooden doll. This restless entity is believed to wreak havoc on anyone who crosses its path. The term Phi kongkoi (ຜີໂກງກອຍ) sends shivers down the spine of Lao people, cautioning them against disturbing its eerie slumber.

#3: The Enigmatic Naga Serpent 

Origin: Mekong River Region 

Slithering through both mythology and reality, the Naga serpent is a creature of profound significance. Known as Naak (ນາກ) in Lao, this mythical being is revered for its protective powers over waterways. Listen closely, and you might hear tales of brave encounters with this majestic, serpentine guardian. 

lao myths and folktales

#4 The Phantom of Mount Phousi

Origin: Luang Prabang, Laos

If you find yourself wandering the charming streets of Luang Prabang, keep an ear out for stories of the Phantom of Mount Phousi. The term Phuusaphum (ພຸຍສະພຸມ) is used to describe the spectral inhabitant of the mountain, whose chilling presence is rumored to linger around its ancient stupas and sacred sites.

#5 The Haunting Hmong Ghosts 

Origin: Hmong Communities in Laos

Venture into the highlands where Hmong ethnic groups reside, and you might hear whispers of the terrifying Naam (ນາມະ) spirits. These vengeful ghosts are believed to inhabit the jungles and shadows, cautioning those who dare to tread on their sacred territories.

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#6 Sida And The Malevolent Spirit

Origin: Lao Folklore 

The tale of Sida and the malevolent spirit is a cautionary story designed to teach important life lessons. ສິດາ (sida) bravely faces the challenges posed by the wicked spirit, demonstrating courage and determination in the face of adversity.

#7: The Cursed Sword of King Setthathirath 

Origin: Lao Historical Legend 

Journey back in time to the kingdom of King Setthathirath and the legendary cursed sword, Khi khoo nang sida thaaban (ຂີ້ຂອງນາງເສດຖາດິນ). This intriguing tale weaves together history and folklore, recounting the monarch’s quest to lift a curse from his royal weapon.

lao myths and folktales

#8 The Guardian Spirit of Vat Phou 

Origin: Champasak, Laos 

Our next tale brings us to the ancient temple complex of Vat Phou, where the guardian spirit, known as Pang phoht (ຜັງໂພດ), is said to watch over the sacred grounds.

#9 The Mysterious Mekong Mermaid 

Origin: Mekong River Region 

As the sun dips below the horizon and the Mekong River glimmers under the moonlight, the tale of the Haan phaayaan (ຮານເພຍັ່ນ), or Mekong Mermaid, comes to life. With her alluring beauty and aquatic charm, this mythical creature is said to rise from the depths, captivating fishermen and travelers alike.

#10 The Lament Of The Bamboo Grove 

Origin: Lao Folklore 

Underneath the rustling leaves of bamboo groves, the haunting melody of the Kwaai naam (ຄວາຍນາຍ) echoes—an ethereal tale of lost love and yearning. In this poignant story, a lovelorn spirit lingers in the bamboo forests, its sorrowful cries said to mirror the pain of unfulfilled desires. As the wind gently sweeps through the groves, the Kwaai naam’s melancholic song serves as a reminder of the fragility of human spirits and emotions.

lao myths and folktales

Lao Mythology And Folktales Vocabulary

Feel free to use this table as a handy reference to learn and practice these Lao words associated with traditional Lao stories!

EnglishLaoRoman Transcript
MythologyການສົບຜົວKaan soh-phua
FolkloreບົວກະຕິດBuu ka-thid
Folk TaleຄຳພາກາວັນKum-pak-au-nan
Mythical CreatureຮອບຊານHoht-saam
Moral LessonແພດສິດາPhet-sida
Ghostly LamentຄວາຍນາຍKwaai naam
Mekong Mermaidຮານເພຍັ່ນHaan phaayaan
King’s Swordນາມົນຂີ້ຂອງນາງNaam khee nang sida
Cursed Swordຂີ້ຂອງນາງເສດຖາດິນKhi khee nang sida thaaban
Guardian SpiritຜັງໂພດPang phoht

And there you have it, language learners—ten chilling and captivating Lao folk tales to deepen your understanding of traditional Lao culture, Lao literature, and Lao history. As you delve into these tales of past lives, embrace the beauty of the Lao people and the stories that come with it!

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