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Moken Tanintharyi Region People & Tribes | 0 comments

A life on the waves with no ties and few possessions; it’s the dream of millions, but the Moken live it .
Moken

So in touch are they with their environment that they foresaw the tsunami that devastated much of the rest of the region, and warned their neighbors. Head to the islands on the south coast and meet the world’s most natural civilization. Join them for a swim and appreciate the tranquility of this ancient culture.

The Moken are a nomadic tribe with a strong relationship to the people of Malaysia. They are nomads who live on the southernmost islands of the Mergui Archipelago. That means you’ll need to make quite a bit of effort to meet these people, who have been much sheltered from the development of the rest of Myanmar (Burma). There may be only 3-5,000 Moken people in the world and they dwell off the coast of Myanmar and Thailand.

Religion

The Moken are such a small people in number and live in such a remote place that very little is known about their religion. It is highly likely that it consists of some form of animism but how that takes shape is unknown at this moment in time.

Culture

The Moken are known as “sea gypsies." Historically they have never had a fixed home, instead preferring to live on the seas in adapted boats that offer shelter and comfort. The discovery of oil in the Andaman Sea has resulted in a program that may force the Moken onto land.

Most Moken have resisted this change and can still be found on the seas. Their nomadic lifestyle proves too much trouble for Thai and Burmese authorities, who are keen to see them settle somewhere more permanent.

Unsurprisingly, the main economic driver for the Moken is fishing and they trade for all their other needs with other tribes located in the area.

They are amazingly adept at handling the pressures of a life on the waves and their catch includes everything from squid to deadly sea urchins. These are handled easily by people, with injuries unheard of.

The Moken, from a Western perspective, seem to be a uniquely natural people. They believe the sea will provide all the essentials for their lives and have absolutely no desire for personal wealth or accumulating possessions.

Attempts to convert the Moken to modern faiths have been met with disdain.

Housing

The real Moken home is a boat. They rely on stilted on-shore housing during monsoons but their boats are adapted to include a bedroom, a kitchen and a living room and the Moken would rather be at sea than anywhere. During the Tsunami of 2004, when many others perished at sea, the Moken had read the signs of the water better than any other people and the people moved to high ground sufficiently early and suffered very few casualties.

Food

The Moken diet is mainly fish and other seafood with a little rice and vegetables.

National Dress

The Moken are essentially eternally clad for beach life, with the men dressed only in a pair of swimming pants for most of the time. The women are bare-breasted and wear only a short sarong.

Festivals

As with the Moken religion, there simply isn’t enough known about these people to identify their festivals. It is highly likely that they have little in common with the main Burmese festivals.


More attractions in Tanintharyi Region? Check out: Langan (or the Sisters)

If you're interested in People & Tribes attractions - check out: The Sizang (or Siyin)

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