Last year I had a spontaneous trip to the Surin Island National Park in the South of Thailand, and this trip has and will surely remain my Top 10 favourite trips of all time.
Accompanied by my childhood friend and her freediving instructor, I hopped on a speed boat from Phang-Nga province in the West coast and headed off to our destination. Just like most tour boats, there is a mix of foreign and Thai travellers and some staff from the touring company. I however spotted a small group of young men who didn’t look like visitors from abroad. They didn’t look like guides either.
They all had very similar features, height, big shiny eyes and beautiful dark skin. They spoke some sort of dialogue in which didn’t at all sound familiar to me. My freediving instructor then explained that they were the “Mokens”.
The Mokens are an Austronesian ethnic group who still maintain their sea-based culture until today. They live a primitive-ish live and have their own tribal language. There are around 2,000 Mokens scattered along the west coast of Thailand, but on this particular island there are only about 100.
Out of these 100-ish Mokens on this island, perhaps around 20 young men work as boat crew for boat tour companies in Phuket and Phang-Nga provinces, and send their income to support their families. They work for 6 months each year and base in mainland, but reside on their own territory for another 6 months during the Monsoon season.
As most Moken women don’t come on shore to work, it’s the men’s duty to bring home the supplies on a regular basis. A few staff from our boat tour companies were good friends with the Mokens as they work quite closely together. As soon as we arrived, they quickly unload all the goodie bags (as shown in the video below).
Upon arrival the sea was calm and beautiful and we all were amazed by the beauty of this little village. I envied the Mokens for getting wake up to the sound of the ocean and the sight of this gem.
However, I also wondered how life would be, when the grey storm clouds thickened and the sky went pitch black every night. I guess the behind-the-scene life (or when it’s monsoon season) their every day would probably not be as lovely with hunger, thirst, the lack of comfort and the technology that we are all used to.
Stay tuned for the upcoming posts from my favourite beach trip 🙂