Formed only in 1984 by carving out parts of Salavan and Attapeu, Sekong is the second smallest province in Laos. It is also one of the poorest, the least accessible and therefore one of the least explored. Sekong is also known as the most ethnically diverse province in Southern Laos with 14 different groups, mostly belonging to the Mon-Khmer linguistic family. These include: the Nge, Talieng, Alak and Chieng; some groups numbering only in the low thousands, scattered throughout in isolated, hard to reach villages, and unusually cut-off from the outside world for parts of the year.