Koh Ra Story

The Story of Ban Koh Ra

koh ra - moken people

The first settlers to the village are known conveniently as Paw and Mae, which translates into Father and Mother. The couple moved to the island around the 1980s. Other families then followed in the later years. The tight-knit community fish the surrounding waters and sell what they do not use to generate a small income for gas for their long-tail boats. Paw, the much-respected village elder, still uses a stand-up row boat.

The villagers get most of their food from the sea, as there are no shops on the island. The villagers have to be self-sufficient and use what nature provides. Their diet consists of fish, squid, crab, oysters and other sea animals. Plants, herbs and fruits are collected from the jungle and include wild parsley and mangoes.

As with many communities in the region, nypa palm is used as a building material, to make cigarette rolling papers, beer and desserts. The villagers have planted fruit trees, betel nut, sugar cane and coconut trees, however, during the dry season there is insufficient freshwater and soil to supply a vegetable or herb garden.