Traditionally there are three ethnic groups of Laotians, and they are illustrated beautifully on our banknote by these three ladies. The Lao Soung, or Lao Sung, are the highland dwelling peoples constituting about 10% of the populace. The Lao Theung, or Lao Thoeng, indicates the midland Lao peoples and represents about 25% of the populace. The Lao Lum, or Lao, are the majority ethinc group, representing about 50% of the populace.
Over the left shoulder of our three ladies is the Pha That Luang pagoda. Regarded as dating from the 3rd century, that is almost 2000 years old, this is the most significant pagoda in Laos. It is rumored to contain the breastbone of the Buddha himself. It is said that the architecture contains numerous references to Laotian culture which has furthered its significance as an icon of Laotian nationalism. It is said that the three levels of the pagoda each reflect a dimension of Buddhist doctrine.
The National Emblem adorns the front of our banknote and is illustrated her. The Pha That Luang Pagoda is at center top. Left center is the modern empowering hydroelectric dam while right center is the forest on the traditional paddy field; the road forward is between the two. The name of the state is inscribed below the one-half gear wheel on the bottom,
Fully ripened rice stalks encircle the whole, each wrapped, and inscribed between them, with the five words of the Laotian Motto: Peace, Independence, Democracy, Unity, Prosperity”.