Phuket Snapshots: Rawai’s Sea Gypsy Village
Curving along the south-eastern tip of Phuket, the northern shore of Rawai beach is the home of sea gypsies known as Chao Lay. The sea is their life and livelihood.
Children splash and shriek floating on plastic ice box lids and pieces of broken board alongside long-tail boats anchored to the beach by long lines, bobbing lazily in turquoise waters.
Rickety wooden stalls hug the beach, facing stores and seafood restaurants across the dirt road dividing beachfront from village. Long strings of varying hued pearls dangle with displays of shell handicrafts blowing in the salty, fish-scented breeze.
A rainbow of freshly caught fish lie lifelessly on metal counters alongside plastic trays packed with shellfish on ice. Over-sized, water-filled tubs placed on the ground in front of stalls crawl with live crabs and crayfish.
Locals and tourists browse and buy seafood then cross the road to one of the open-fronted restaurants where, for a small fee, the kitchen serves it up in the dish of choice.
Check out my post Phuket Snapshots: Rawai Beach and Local Life at Rawai Beach on the informative Jamie’s Phuket Blog.
Also, read the eye-opening article Tourism imperils way of life for Thai sea gypsies to learn about the plight of the Chao Lay.