The Moken Sea Gypsies of the Surin Islands are a community of dwellers who share a distinct cultural and heritage tale, which is sure to interest both locals and visitors alike. Historically, Moken are the Austronesian people of the Mergui Archipelago, who have been sailing around the region for generations. Koh Surin Nuea is home to an estimated number of 150 Moken or the sea gypsies. Some are living here as nomads while some have been integrated into the Kingdom, becoming Thai citizens. Still yet, very few Moken have adapted to the era of emerging technology, embracing the nomadic lifestyle on the sea.
The culture and heritage of the Moken set foot in the territory even before Thailand’s claim. The primary source of income of the Moken is not fishing, as most would conclude. They gather shellfish and hunt other marine creatures from coral reefs and mudflats as the primary way of survival instead. Sea gypsies are known for their remarkable ability to dive without goggles. No wonder, as their first dive happened before they started to walk. This practice of collecting seashells and hunting marine life goes against the conservation and preservation laws of the national park. But due to a fairly small number of sea gypsies, the government supports by not intervening.
Moken Sea Gypsies spend much of their time on boats called the kabang, which serve as the only home to many of them. Despite the lack of amenities, they survive perfectly fine with the help of their exceptional hunting and gathering skills. We recommend visiting the Moken village on Koh Surin Tai. Not only does it serve as a scenic tourist attraction but also as a cultural site where age-long traditions are shared and respected.