Sea Village Phang Nga:
Floating Gypsy Sea Village Phang Nga Phuket, Thailand
For many arriving in Thailand for the first time, there is a list of “things to do” when you’re in Thailand! Besides Patong Beach with its thriving nightlife entertainment venue such as Bangla Road as well as James Bond Island, you will always find the floating village of the local sea gypsies called Koh Panyee, a village on stilts in Phang Nga Bay, on the list.
It houses not only a mosque, a soccer field, a school and a daily open local market; it is also home to a lot of small coffee shops, souvenir booths as well as a few big restaurants catering for the long-tail boatloads of tourists which stop here nearly every day throughout the year.
Despite this tourist oriented aspect of Koh Panyee, it is easy to realize that the people living in this Sea Village Phang Nga have kept some of their ancestral identity. You can get a first hand real good idea of their unique lifestyle just by wandering behind the facade to have a look at their living quarters. This is still first a fishing village where the tourists stop by in high season mainly for a fresh seafood meal.
The population of this floating village is estimated at around 1500 people from 315 families who can be traced back almost 200 years to the family of To Baboo and the two other families who settled on the island after leaving Indonesia in search of better water for their fishing. They then found a limestone island where they decided to build a village completely on stilts and named it Koh Panyee, which means “Village of the Flag”. The name has its origin in the understanding between the three families that whoever found rich fishing grounds to provide for all the three families would raise a flag for the others to find and join them. Thus Koh Panyee! Two hundred years later, still standing after withstanding all that the the sea could throw at them, the villagers added a successful new venture to their way of living: tourism that is! 😉
Most of the boats going to James Bond island stop here for lunch or dinner. We recommend that you do not to eat here as there are better restaurants in Phang Nga: for example the Tha Sai Seafood.