Sea Gypsy Fishing on longtail boats
“Times and Seasons”
The Sea Gypsies of Rawai depart and arrive home around high tide hence the times you can go out vary and in "low season" the weather has to be taken into consideration, as there are assorted combinations of trips, day/night, beach BBQ, trap diving, trolling, bottom fishing etc.
It is always best to visit their village with me to arrange exactly what you require a few days before your proposed trip and pay a deposit. We are a couple of kilometers from the Gipsy Village so when you arrive please make a visit to the village part of a day out, you can meet your crew and arrange everything with them.
The sea gypsy village itself is easy for a taxi to find as it is a well known tourist destination with sea shell stands and fresh fish restaurants.
Booking a Gypsy Trip involves visiting the Gypsy village 1 or 2 days before your proposed trip in order to organize times (tides) and check the weather forecast. The weather in low season is particularly unreliable!
This is a good opportunity to get to know your hosts and organize exactly what you would like to do and for how long, ie. Snorkeling (bring your own gear) Trolling, Bottom fishing, watch them dive to their own traps, dive with them, day/night, BBQ on beach, etc.
It is also a good time to pay your deposit and have a look round the village or have a fresh seafood meal.
The Sea Gypsies in Phuket – Some Facts
The Sea Gypsy village in Rawai is the largest on Phuket Island. This community is predominantly Buddhist, with quite a few quirks of their own, such as burying their dead as opposed to Buddhist cremation and they call their tribe the "Dtee Bak" (Lions of the Seas).
Most other communities, of which there are many (three on Phuket) are Muslim, although, true to their culture, they mix and match quite happily. This is probably due to the fact, that on a daily basis their lives literarily depend on each other when using the extremely dangerous methods they employ when harvesting from the deep.
Diving, using antiquated air compressors and garden hoses to supply unfiltered air, accounts for more than 50% of the Gypsies fishing income and making their huge fish traps is hard, labour intensive work and well worth seeing.
The Sea Gypsies – Some History
The Sea Gypsies (or Thai–mai or The Moken) are possibly the friendliest Thais you could ever meet, who ask for nothing more that the prospect of feeding themselves as they have done for millennia, from the sea.
Gypsy history is at its best vague, as their language, which is partially Malay, cannot be written down hence no authentic records exist to confirm the origins of this ancient race who claim to have been in these waters for over 2000 years. Although this cannot be proven, it is generally accepted that the Na Goo, as they call themselves, were indeed the first residents of Phuket.
All our trips require a 50% payment in advance, the balance to be paid on the day