KOH SUDN NUA: Sea gypsies
On the northern half of Koh Surin Tai Beach in Thailand’s Miu Koh Surin Marine National Park, lives a community of fishing people known as the Chao Ley, or Sea Gypsies. Where they come from is still a mystery they may have migrated from as far away as the Philippines, Indonesia, or Peninsular Malaysia.
The Chao Ley have retained their ancient culture and unique language. The boys and fit men spend most of their lives on their boats, by fishing and collecting shells for sale to tourists. Only during the bad weather of the monsoon season do they spend any length of time on land.
During the period around the full moon in March, the Chao Ley launch a flamboyantly decorated miniature boat from the beach. The fate of the boat decides the community’s fortunes; if it returns to shore the tribe will move to settle in a new location.
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