Along with the Limbu, the Rai form the two subgroups of the Kiranti. The largest Tibeto-Nepalese group in eastern Nepal, the Rai are also found in India, Sikkim, and Bhutan. Subsisting primarily as rice agriculturalists, Rai also have a tradition of men migrating to cities for work and men serving as Gurkhas. The Rai are composed of two major subgroups, the Khambu and Yakhu, each of which is composed of patrilineal clans and lineages. The Rai speak a Kiranti dialect.
Unlike the Limbu, little is known about the Rai. In some areas, particularly in India, Rai have combined traditional shamanism and ancestor worship with beliefs and practices taken from Buddhism and Hinduism.