Learn nomadic traditions from Burma’s “sea gypsies”
Original post: Another World Adventures
Our Adventure365 series is all about discovering adventures you could have everyday of the year. February is a great month to visit Burma and got us thinking about the incredible traditions you can learn from Burma’s “sea gypsies” on a a visit to the Myeik Archipelago.
This tropical archipelago, also known as Mergui is home to 800 islands in southern Burma and it has remained beautifully frozen in time. The islands are difficult to reach and most definitely off the beaten path giving intrepid travellers a chance to experience local food, culture, history, martial arts, and the traditional dress of the virtually untouched island cultures of Burma.
The Moken are a hunter-gatherer community who populate the region. To the French they are known as “les vagabonds de le mer” or Burma’s “sea gypsies”. Against all odds, they have kept their aquatic and nomadic way of life alive.
The Moken people have fished, dived and foraged the Andaman Sea for the last 4,000 years but the Burmese, a traditionally Buddhist peoples, will tell you nothing in life is permanent and a chance to seize any opportunity to experience the unique yet fading traditional way of life of the the Moken people shouldn’t be missed.
This Myeik Archipelago region has only recently opened up to outside visitors and, as such, Burma’s “sea gypsies” have continued their difficult but traditional lifestyle. To meet these people and learn from them as you observe them is a true adventure. It’s an expedition that offers the chance to understand a very different side of Burma – as well as plenty of chances to relax in the warm waters and slow paced life of Southeast Asia.
If you’d like to experience pristine coastlines, remarkable historical sites that date back to the Stone Age, deep jungle forests and the generosity of the local people – whose smiles will warm your heart every bit as much as the Burmese sunshine – then how about a trip by sail boat exploring the region?
Highlights of the 9 day trip include:
- Eating delicious pad thai in Phuket
- Watching the sun set “island style”
- Enjoying life on a catamaran yacht and learning about sailing
- Relaxing on white sandy beaches
- Navigating around the 800 islands of the Myeik Archipelago
- Swimming with the fish and keeping your eyes peeled for giant white sharks
- Snorkeling of Ba Wei Island with the turtles
- Getting a lesson in nomadic traditions from the “sea gypsies” of Bo Cho island
- Taking a jungle hike around Kho Yinn Khwa Island
- Sea kayaking with exotic marine wildlife
- Enjoying a campfire on the beach of Swinton Island.