Big Game Fishing Tours & Liveaboard Charters in Phuket, Thailand

Tag: Sea Gypsy Fishing

News from the Sea Gypsy Village in Rawai

Rawai sea gypsies

The new facade

Sea Gypsy Village - the new facade

Ahoy Me Hearties

Unheard of in my history fishing out of Phuket are these February squalls which, to my mind, are just another pointer to the climatic changes which are going on around us, and for the most part, being ignored.  Just another sad chapter in the annals of human obstinacy!

I remember reading that, although the government was aware of world’s rising sea levels, they would like to assure the people that this would not affect the Gulf of Thailand. - Must have been a Trump supporter!

So now to stop me prattling on about the weather, how about the guys who introduced me the Andaman Sea? 

 

The Rawai Sea Gypsies

It seems strange to me that such a valuable asset to Phuket’s tourist industry should not be better protected or at the very least compensated for their sub-standard living conditions, especially as so many others profit from their meagre existence.

Yes my friends, the Gypsies look to have won the battle against big business, even when they brought in the muscle and the threats. But now the village is being infested by tourists arriving on road choking buses. 

 

Sea Gypsy Village - Typical living conditions
Sea Gypsy Village - before the invasion

The improved infrastructure of the village looks modern enough as you walk in but it’s all facade and f all else, the Gypsies who had little sanitation or drainage, now find their village overrun by commercial interests and all its disgusting side effects which only compound the previous problems and highlights the inadequacies of the authorities, who historically have been as beneficial to the Gypsies as a morale officer on a pirate ship.

Are we witnessing the demise of the Gypsies as another insidious form of takeover unceremoniously digests them into a corrupt, profit-led system they neither need, want nor understand, or is the “department in charge” the same one that said “The tide will not rise in the Gulf Of Thailand”?

Tight lines

The logistics of taking advantage of these mostly Chinese “Greenhorns” means that there is a very sizeable population of Thais, Indians and Chinese just working on emptying the tourist wallets. All the while the Gypsy Village gets invaded on a daily basis by rubberneckers and those freeloading carpetbaggers who live off the backs of the Gypsies’ reputation.

I used to drive my car right through to the back of the village, now Non-Gypsies are telling me “NO CARS” while they are selling  fish at inflated prices, as people believe they were caught by the Gypsies and therefore by buying fish “we are helping them”, while the exact opposite is the case.

 

The Sea Gypsy Village Rawai - Inside the village

Phuket Sea Gypsy Fishing

Phuket Sea Gypsies

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Sea Gypsy Fishing on longtail boats

Destinations
Coral Island, Koh Bon

How Much?
1,800 THB
(person / day)
How Many?
Min: 4, Max: 5 fishing
but can take 8 persons

“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.

Day fishing with the Sea Gypsies >>

Night fishing with the Sea Gypsies >>

Please note

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.

Included
Meal cooked with the catch
Included
Fishing tackle & live bait
Not Included
TIPPING - there are normally two Thai crew per boat and it is customary to leave a tip
Not included
The price does not include transportation
Please note

All our trips require a 50% payment in advance, the balance to be paid on the day

Sea Gypsy Day Fishing

Sea gypsy fishing

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Fishing on Sea Gypsy Longtail Boats

Destinations
Coral Island, Koh Bon

How Much?
1,800 THB
(person / day)
How Many?
Min: 4, Max: 5 fishing
but can take 8 persons
Important! Please note

If you are not used to the sun wear a hat and bring plenty of sun-block.

These trips are not for young children or the unfit. These are Sea Gipsy working boats and have no facilities.

A day out with the Sea Gypsies on a long tail boat, watch them dive to their traps, try some line fishing and finish with a fish BBQ on some secluded beach.

Don’t expect “Big Game” when out with the Gypsies as most of their large fish are caught in their Gypsy Fish Traps. That said, fishing with the Gypsies is a privilege, not experienced by many, especially at night which is a must for someone who just loves a rod and reel, or in the Gypsy case, hand line.

For the regular fisherman this will probably be the first time you have not baited your own hook– the Gypsies are that attentive.

All Gypsy trips are weather permitting especially in the “low season” from May to November.

Day time trips should only be undertaken with a view to shading yourself from the sun, hence BBQ’s on the beach.

Please note

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.

Beach Parties

Beach parties for up to 30 people can be catered for and are great for birthday beach bashes.

All the beer you can drink and all the fish you can eat plus a bonfire on the beach!

1,800 Baht Per Person

Included
Meal cooked with the catch
Included
Fishing tackle & live bait
Not Included
TIPPING - there are normally two Thai crew per boat and it is customary to leave a tip
Not included
The price does not include transportation
Please note

All our trips require a 50% payment in advance, the balance to be paid on the day

Sea Gypsy Night Fishing

Night fishing with the Phuket Sea Gypsies

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Fishing on Sea Gypsy Longtail Boats

Destinations
Coral Island, Koh Bon

How Much?
1,800 THB
(person / day)
How Many?
Min: 4, Max: 5 fishing
but can take 8 persons
Important! Please note

These trips are not for young children or the unfit. These are Sea Gipsy working boats and have no facilities.

Night fishing can be done any time the weather permits although a full moon seriously adds to this magical night out.

Leaving the Gypsy Village in Rawai around 4pm we head for Coral Island and trawl or jig for squid waiting for dusk when we will drop anchor and bottom fish as we watch the magnificent sunset.

We are looking for snapper or barracuda but the catch could be just about anything.

Please note

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.

Beach Parties

Beach parties for up to 30 people can be catered for and are great for birthday beach bashes.

All the beer you can drink and all the fish you can eat plus a bonfire on the beach!

1,800 Baht Per Person

Included
Meal cooked with the catch
Included
Fishing tackle & live bait
Not Included
TIPPING - there are normally two Thai crew per boat and it is customary to leave a tip
Not included
The price does not include transportation
Please note

All our trips require a 50% payment in advance, the balance to be paid on the day