Thailand…The Land of Smiles and my home… For the next few months, I will take you to some special places and share with you the long-held traditions I have discovered which are passed down through the generations I do hope that you enjoy…
The North Eastern side of Phuket Island you will find Bang Rong pier from there you can catch a water taxi or a speed boat to several of the nearby islands. We ate fresh seafood and lovely fresh mango salad a virtual feast. Life so tranquil here, a world away from the hustle and bustle which is London or any other city.
This sea gipsy village is not one of the larger ones where you can walk through the village and shop this is quite basic by comparison but has a certain charm and you can see the men and women going about their daily work either fishing or driving the boats or water taxis back and forth or whittling away as they make wooden trinkets and ornaments for sale ..they may be mending nets or even sleeping in the sun or cooking the lovely seafood…
The Sea Gypsy’s are said to be the oldest and most interesting inhabitants of Phuket Locally called Chao Le in the Thai language. (Chao=people; Le=from thale=sea). They settle in one bay until all the resources there are finished and move on to another bay so giving nature time to recover. But there is no written history of their whereabouts and culture. The only thing we know is that they lived as nomads without a permanent residence and without writing utensils. Some say they come from former Malay colonies fleeing Burma from the Muslim invasion. Others say they were descended from the Indian Vedas. The Sea Gypsies are split into three ethnic groups – the Moken, Moklen and Urak Lawoi – which speak different languages. While the Moken still live as nomads, mostly in the northern islands of Phuket, the Moklen and Urak Lawoi settled down at the coastlines of Phuket. Until now they are still working as fisherman or pearl divers and some collect bird nests which are a delicacy for soup. Other income comes from the tourists which visit their villages daily.
Today they have their own language and own religion – the animism. The legends say they brought their dead people to so-called “death islands” where their souls live forever. Two times a year they celebrate the most important ritual in animism the “Loy Ruea” festival. Small wooden boats are released into the sea carrying presents, fingernails, hair and miniature weapons to please the ghosts of the sea and the souls of the dead so the Sea Gypsies can live in peace and happiness. Another highlight in their lives is the yearly hunting of sea turtles to eat their flesh. The legend says that a woman of the Sea Gypsies changed to a sea turtle but with a human face. Since then the Sea Gypsies worship the sea turtles as sisters of the humankind. Only for this festival is permission given to hunt and eat sea turtles. For their daily living, the Sea Gypsies barely use money – they just exchange minerals, shells, oysters, snake house and other things for what they need. If they get access to money they usually buy rice, eggs sweets or tobacco. The settlements of the Sea Gypsies give you an insight in an ancient culture – free, colourful, without crime and police – and everybody is very welcome to visit them for a chat, a game of pool or to buy a fish or some of their handicrafts.
Surrounded by Mangrove swamps it is peaceful and although you do get tourists taking the boats to the outlying islands it isn’t that busy it is tranquil and rural a little off the beaten track …
The food here is Thai and not what you would find on the popular beaches which I hardly ever eat on as it isn’t authentic Thai it is dumbed down to cater for tourists taste…Something I have a hard job understanding as surely it is nice to have a taste of authentic food wherever you travel?
Close to here in the National park you will also find walkways into the jungle which means you can get a closer look quite safely without worry that you may inadvertently step on something or get too close to a crocodile.
Another lovely place to visit which is in the same proximity as Bang Rong pier is the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre...I love watching those little gibbons who are now happily swinging from tree to tree through the jungle….If you ever visit Phuket, The Gibbon Rehab centre is a must to visit and there is a beautiful restaurant next door…Yep…Food again!
If you make a visit you can see the gibbons who are receiving treatment …Many are rehabilitated and released back into the jungle the ones who cannot be released back into the jungle live a very happy, safe life…There is also the opportunity to sponsor your favourite gibbon…
Some are so tiny that they have to be hand reared and bottle fed and are so very cute…
Just about 0.2km from the Gibbon Sanctuary is Piang Pria a beautiful restaurant with food to match it overlooks the lake and is a nice place to stop if you have visited the waterfall and just want somewhere to relax and enjoy beautifully presented food…
It is rated very highly on trip advisor and has many certificates…The food is just a little step up from street food in so much as it is always beautifully presented.
If you visit this beautiful part of Phuket it makes a lovely day out you can opt to take a trip to one of the islands enjoy some seafood on your return have a wander around the walkways then meander over to see the Gibbons which although you cannot get too close you can speak with the staff and volunteers who love to chat…Visit the waterful and if you don’t take the scenic route to its sister waterfall Ton Sai then you can sit by the lake and enjoy some beautiful food…
I hope you enjoy exploring with me on my travels xx
About Carol Taylor:
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.
The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on mewe.com/i/caroltaylor3
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS
Connect to Carol
Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead xx