Andaman Discoveries Blog

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

 

Life with the Moken in Tung Dap

This month I had the chance toexperience one of the village tours in the remote village of Tung Dap, locatedon the Island of Koh Prathong, with one of our guests Mandy and our translatorand guide Pi-Tui.


We left Kuraburi and made our wayto the pier and took the long-tail boat out to the Island. The boat ride outthe Island was amazing, the color of the leaves from the mangrove trees wasbright green, glistening and shining in the early morning sun and the oceanturns from green to blue as the boat navigates through the shallow and deepwaters.


Before reaching the island, wewent to explore the mangrove forest and learnt about the way the local peoplemanage the environmental conservation of this mangrove area. We also learnt about the medicinal use of themangroves, and learnt about many animals and crustations which live within themangroves. This is a natural habitat forthese animals which has to be preserved to protect all the remarkable speciesliving there. The amazing mangroveeco-system acts as a nursery for crabs, fish and shrimp, and is well managed bythe villagers, who try to minimize environmental impacts for our futuregenerations.

After that, we met Pi-Noi and herhusband Da Nong and had a delicious lunch together,freshly caught sea food……….. aroy J After lunchwe observed the traditional method to take tin out of the sand, this is a longprocess and very hard work.


We also had the chance to learn how to make squidtraps; it’s not as easy as it looks and it’s amazing how fast the locals weavethe net.


The atmosphere of the village wasvery relaxing and everyone was very friendly. We were able to ask a lot ofinteresting questions about their culture and way of life on the island andwere able to share stories and experiences between our hosts and Mandy thanks to our great translator and guide Pi-Tui.

The cultural exchange was intenseas Mandy was able to tell about her life back in Australia and what herimpressions were of seeing this new culture and Pi-Noi seemed amazed to hearabout Mandy’s life back in her home town and compare the way they live.
At one point, the exchange was quietfascinating, because Pi-Noi was talking about her experience during the 2004tsunami and how challenging it is to be Moken in a rapidly changing world. Moken are very proud of their life style andtreasure keeping the close and important connection with the nature, I was solucky to be part of this exchange.
Later in the day we had a uniqueride through the savannah on a customized tractor a one off ingenuousinvention and had some coconuts caught by Da Nong as he climbed thecoconut tree right in front of the beautiful pristine beach.




After that we came back to thevillage and learnt how to make Thai desert with Pi-Noi. We cooked sticky ricein freshly grated coconut milk and wrapped in a banana leaf, the Thai way.


We’ve been amazed all day by theway villagers welcomed us to their village and with this beautiful landscapesurrounding us.


If you like the sound of thistrip, or if you would like to find out more about this program, don’t hesitateto contact us, it’s a great and unique cultural experience.

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