Chow Lair Village

Village in Ko Sireh

Thailand's largest settlement of chow lair ('sea gypsies'; also spelt chao leh), with a population of around 1900, is a cluster of metal-roofed shacks on stilts on Ko Sireh's southwest coast. The Urak Lawoi, the most sedentary of the three chow lair groups, live only between here and the Tarutao–Langkawi archipelago, and speak a mixture of Malay and Mon-Khmer, although most understand Thai. You're free to wander around (respectfully, of course).

Once an entirely nomadic community, the Urak Lawoi have had to settle due to increasing coastal development and fishing restrictions.