People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Nyahkur in Thailand


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Nyahkur in Thailand map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,600 Nyahkur Buddhism 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Nyahkur in Thailand

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

The Nyahkur people comprise one of Thailand's least known tribes. They inhabit valleys surrounded by lush hills in the three central Thailand provinces of Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima and Phetchabun. The majority of Nyahkur are in Chaiyaphum. Most live in mixed villages with Isan and Thai people.

The self-name of this tribe is Nyahkur, which means 'people of the forest'. The Thais call them Chaobon, meaning 'people of the hills'. The Nyahkur consider this latter term derogatory.

Despite their small numbers, the Nyahkur are considered a historically important group. Many linguists believe that their language is a link between Mon and Khmer. One scholar says, 'Their language contains so many Khmer and Mon words that some linguists consider the language as a bridge--even more closely related to ancient Mon than to the modern Mon dialect.'

The Nyahkur people have been described as 'addicted to borrowing'. This has caused them to be trapped in poverty and a never-ending cycle of financial woe. As early as 1919, an anthropologist called the Nyahkur a 'disappearing society' due to rampant disease, alcohol addiction and other destructive vices.

When the Nyahkur get married, a bride price must be paid. These days the average price is 30,000 baht (about US$700). The value of a bride is measured 'by her ability as a worker, upon her beauty, especially her fair skin, and finally on the wealth of her parents'. The record price paid for a pretty Nyahkur girl is 60,000 baht.

In the past the Nyahkur were animists enslaved to powerful demons. In recent decades, due to the influence of their Thai and Isan neighbours, they have embraced Buddhism. Practically all Nyahkur now claim to be Buddhists. In reality, however, they have retained most of their former animistic practices and placed a veneer of Buddhism over them. The Nyahkur 'still believe in many superstitions that affect every area of their lives. [They believe in] various spirits that inhabit the surroundings: village guardian spirits, mountain spirits, and soil spirits. The spirits are called nthock. Evil spirits are blamed for almost everything that goes wrong. The Nyahkur wear charms and amulets, such as Buddhist images, necklaces of beads and old silver coins which are believed to protect against injuries, illness, and other sorts of evils. It is said that only the wearing of a necklace made of flat pieces of copper has the power to protect against nthock lakthep, the most powerful of all the evil spirits.'

Despite more than 20 years of missionary effort, there are no known Nyahkur Christians today. A team of missionaries first moved into the village of Ban Wang Ai Pho in 1982, and they have worked there since. One source says, 'They were not successful in baptizing the Chaobon [Nyahkur] people, because of the superstitious and animistic nature of their beliefs. But they were very successful in studying and preserving Chaobon culture and they gave a helping hand in social, health, administrative and human matters.'

View Nyahkur in all countries.

Prayer Links
  Submit Update:
Country: Thailand
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:They inhabit valleys in the three central Thailand provinces of Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima and Phetchabun. The majority are in Chaiyaphum.
(Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Nyahkur
People Name General: Nyahkur
Alternate People Names:
Chao BoChao Bon
ROP3 Code: 107529
Joshua Project People ID: 14077
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 1,600
Population all Countries: 1,600
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
People Name General: Nyahkur
Ethnic Code: AUG03z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Nyahkur (1,600 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): cbn    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism80.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions20.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant70.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic30.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 1996
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Nyahkur in Thailand

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Mon-Khmer     Asia, Southeast    
      Nyahkur Thailand    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Nyahkur in Thailand          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Nyahkur  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: