Lovely People of Krabi

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Attractions

p1010003In the past, a great number of foreigners, such as Egyptians, Romans, Arabs, Indians and Chinese, stopped at the sea port of Krabi during their long voyages. The exchange which took place was not only commercial, but also cultural. It was in this way, that Krabi developed a charming character of its own.

The result of 3,000 to 5,000 years of pleasant cultural blending can be plainly seen in the character of the local people today. Krabi people are typically bold, assertive, open, direct, trustful and above all welcoming to strangers.



Early man in Krabi was a tribe of highly skilled fishermen and hunters of wild animals, knowing how to use fire for cooking. Early religion here probably consisted in honoring or worshipping one’s ancestors. The life styles of Krabi inhabitants adapted greatly with the frequent migrations and visits from outsiders. The people of Krabi today come from several races or religions, the most important of which are :-


The ancestors of today’s Muslim Thais roamed the sea to take refuge from wars in Malaysia. Many settled on the coast of Nakorn Sri Thammarat and its neighbouring provinces. The first Muslim Thai in the area were fishermen, preferring to live along the coast and on the islands.


Some of the first Chinese in South Thailand came on junk ships, whilst others arrived by land to work in palm oil and gypsum mining. All the Chinese in Krabi have close economic and cultural links with their relatives in Penang and Singapore.
The first Buddhist Thais to settle in Krabi were originally from Nakorn Sri Thammarat.



also known as Chao Ley ( ‘people of the sea’ ), were the first to inhabit the local islands of Phi Phi, Jum and Lanta. Roaming the sea in their wooden boats, they lived from fishing with their bare hands, diving to collect shellfish and gathering food from the jungle.

Source : Krabi Tourism

NUS Field Studies ‘09 (Krabi)


We saw the Thai kids swimming in the river and just jumping around without a care in the world! It was so heartwarming (: we started to compare it to Singaporean kids where they were spoilt with tonnes of gadgets to entertainment them and we thought about those who would cry when we took them away. Yet these Thai children were just so contented with what they have, a dirty river for them to jump in and out of and their little bicycle. (: We took a rather long walk into the prawn farm! I do not like cats but the kittens at the farm were so adorable and lovable! (: We got an interview with the owner of the farm and found out that they profit by the 10s of millions of Bahts per annum! And just in case their prawn farm fails or is in trouble, they have a palm plantation nearby to earn secondary income to tide them over these periods! INTERESTING AND VERY SMART! I saw and smelt  a few cows strolling around the plantation while we were having a mini lecture! The weather was so hot that day, we moved on really quickly!

My group went back to Koh Lanta and stayed at Sanga-Ul Village which was also the Moken Village. We stayed with the phuuyaybaan (the village head) when we were there! Our group did a project on water consumption of Sanga-Ul comparing the difference in pre and post tsunamis. I will not attempt to share our findings with you cos i’ll end up typing a 5 page report on the issues we discussed and what we observed there! HAHA. We spent a lot of time at the temple nearby gathering information from a monk that speaks relatively good English and to enjoy the scenery and the sea breeze blowing into our faces in the day. At aroudn 6 every night, we’d go back for dinner of home made food by the village chief’s wife! We got fresh fish every day either fried, in soup or tradition Moken style! (: We spent the nights speaking Thai with the village head and also “playing” pictionary and charades with him. Not so much for fun but because he spoke Yalai (traditional Moken language) and Thai only we found it tough to understand him sometimes because of our limited vocabulary! On the second night, we taught him to speak a few English words as well (: He was a really fast learner! (: Through interactions with them, I realized that although the media said that the tsunami did not hit the village and the only two deaths on Koh Lanta were two tourists, many more were affected. In fact, the Mokens did have casualties and deaths but were not counted into the official statistics because the government did not give them rights and citizenship at all 🙁 Because most of them had boats and rely mainly on boats for their livelihoods, the tsunami destroyed their boats and some of their homes. It destroyed the phuuyaybaan’s home and so he’s staying in a World Vision home not a traditional one. Also, contrary to what most people think and write about the Mokens, after staying with them for a couple of days (although short few days), they are shy in nature and them not being the friendliest people on Earth does not make them proud okay? Also, they are not individualistic people as well. I’ve seen their community spirit (they have village BBQ on Saturdays!) and how they’re willing to help one another out when they need help.They helped us even though we were not part of their family. The phuuyaybaan was like a father to us when we were there. Worried that we couldn’t carry our bags up the big slope, he brought us up on his motorbike one by one! He woke up very early on our last day there just so he could go to the market to get the freshest first catch for our lunch (oh gosh, thinking about my stay there makes me feel like crying). He brought us all the way down and dropped us at the place where we were supposed to get picked up. You know how genuine and sincere they are when you look into your eyes. He said thankyou to us with tears welling in his eyes. I teared too 🙁 You know, it’s strange how Thai people grow on you. You meet them for 3 days and you feel so attached to them already. I didn’t want to leave at all. I MISS SANGA-UL yet again!

An excerpt posted by Sarah
Friday June 26, 2009

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