Ko Panyi, a Muslim Floating Village on the Sea

Ko Panyi, The Moslem Floating Fishing Village Above The Sea

Ko Panyi is a floating village located in the Andaman Sea or off the southern coast of Thailand, Phang Nga Province, and 766.1 km far from Bangkok. Ko Panyi is also known as Pulo Panji in Javanese.

Toh Baboo is a Malay sailor who became an ancestor and succeeded in building Ko Panyi.

This village is surrounded by construction from a massive limestone rock, formed about 20 meters high, as if it were a village emerging from the water.

There are accommodates more than 360 families with a total of 1,680 local residents and the majority are Muslim.

Ko Panyi is far from representing the future but still presents an alternative way of living within the community, respecting and understanding nature as it is.

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Well-Built Houses And Area In The Middle Of Thailand’s Bay

The basic structure of Ko Panyi houses are built on stilts, wood and bamboo, so the buildings are sturdy enough. They also built schools, health centers, shops, and mosques above the sea.

The main challenges of living above the water is dealing with very limited hard surfaces, which means a lack of common areas and gathering places. Because of this, Ko Panyi residents are trying to collectively create space for recreation and play.

Currently, the area in Ko Panyi cannot be expanded further. The next generation needs to find a new place to live on land elsewhere.

The Livelihood Of Ko Panyi’s Residents

Besides the unique residence of local residents, they also survive on the community’s source of income from fishing. Most of the locals are fishermen and they use boats as transportation in and out of the village.

People living in this village speak Thai, but the older generation also understands Indonesian.

In Ko Panyi, nature sets the rules, and humans understand and obey them. When the water is high and the waves are dangerous during the rainy season, they will emigrate from the village.

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The Origin Of Sailor’s Journey And Built The Floating Village

Around 200 years ago, the history of Ko Panyi begins at the end of the 18th century. The origins of Ko Panyi village began when three nomadic Malay families looked for a location to catch fish.

These families, who sailed from Java, followed the Malaysian coastline until they arrived in Thai waters and found an island in Phang Nga Province. They then climbed to the hill to raise the flag as a sign that other fishermen could join them.

Thailand has made regulations that only native residents have the right to own land. This encouraged the fishermen who sailed to build villages above the sea, using the bay and sea products to survive.

When it was first established, the first things that they built were the fresh water wells and mosques, then they began to build residences which are now known as the floating villages.