About 6,900 people presently live in NNT-NP in 3 village clusters, 13 villages and 31 hamlets with a density of about 2 persons per square kilometre. There are an additional 37 villages residing around the forested edge of Nakai Nam Theun NP in the peripheral impact zone, from the four surrounding districts with a total population of 22,700 people. Livelihood practices vary, dependent on ethnicity and geographical situation of each village, but all rely on agricultural practices, trading, and other off-farms activities.
Anthropological evidence suggests that NNT is one of the longest continually inhabited upland areas of Laos or Vietnam. There are four major linguistic groups found in the Nakai-Nam Theun National Park. The four major ethnic groups that reside in the area are Makong, Sek, Kri and Hmong. All villagers have a strong sense of belonging to the region and attachment to the resources available in the forests and rivers. In addition, there are demarcations of territory according to the range of influence of territorial spirits (phi meuang).
Visitors can experience local, ethnic culture in Nahao & Navang villages by staying overnight in a homestay. The villages are very ethnically diverse with Makong, Sek and Kri ethnic groups and there are many local activities that visitors can do including learning how to make baskets.