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- Pop: 1 million
- Origin: China
- Area: Dien Bien Phu, Hoa Binh, Lai Chau, Son La
Economy: rice, corn
Belief system: animism
Cultural characteristics: The Thais can be broken down into various regional groups with their own regional varieties of Thai. These groups include Central Thai (also the standard variety of the language), the Isan (more closely related to the Standard Lao of Laos than to Standard Thai), Lanna Thai and Southern Thai. Modern Central Thai has become more dominant due to official government policy, which was designed to assimilate and unify the disparate Thai in spite of ethnolinguistic and cultural ties between the northeastern Thai people and the people from Laos for example.
The modern Thai are predominantly Theravada Buddhist and strongly identify their ethnic identity with their religious beliefs that include aspects of ancestor worship (see Culture of Thailand). Indigenous arts include muay Thai (kick boxing), Thai dance, makruk (Thai Chess), and nang yai (shadow play).
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