Exploring the Mergui Islands
A six day journey through the villages and islands of the unspoiled Mergui Islands.
A rare insight into the way of life of the Moken, the last remaining sea nomads.
An exploration of one of the last unspoiled archipelagos in the world.
The Moken or ‘Salone’ as the Myanmar government name them, are sea nomads. Moken means, “dive into the sea”. These sea gypsies roam the 800 unspoiled islands of the Mergui archipelago.
Off the southern coast of Myanmar, spread over 450 km between Myeik and Rawthong, are the Mergui Islands. The northern gateway into these islands is Myeik, a bustling port with an active pearl and fishing industry, teak and rubber exports, and shipyards where timber boats are traditionally built. Foreigners are still banned by the Myanmar government from visiting the islands unless on diving tours accompanied by military menders. This should change in 2015.
Pau Daung Island (Domel Island), six hours from Myeik, is a reasonably large and stunningly beautiful island. It will be our base to explore the Mergui. The next day we journey to the Moken village of Langon on the Annawa Islands. Our boat glides on glass-like jade waters along white sand beaches and mountainous-forested islands.
The Moken can be found on small family boats most of the year, where they live, breed, and survive off the produce of the sea. They are nomads and the clans roam freely in the archipelago and beyond to Thailand. They trade their underwater harvest, such as sea cumbers and fish for rice and fuel along with local whisky. During the monsoon season they gather mainly on three islands for their annual celebrations. They are animists and their spiritual life is lead by Shamans. They raise totems and one of them is a mock up powered engine plane that symbolizes the wind that brings the clans together. Their population is estimated at some 6000…. For full article please fill the contact form below
Copyright words Jacques Maudy. Photos: Jacques Maudy & Julie André / The Tribe Press Agency
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