Urak Lawoi’ people

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Urak Lawoi
Total population
3,000
Regions with significant populations
Southern Thailand
Languages
Urak Lawoi’, Malay
Religion
Traditional religion, Theravada Buddhism, Christianity

Urak Lawoi (Malay: Orang Laut) are an Aboriginal Malay people residing on the islands of Phuket, Phi Phi, Jum, Lanta, Bulon and on Lipe and Adang, in the Adang Archipelago,[1] off the western coast of Thailand. They are known by various names, including Orak Lawoi', Lawta, Chaw Talay, Chawnam, and Lawoi.

The population of approximately 6,000 speak a language related closely to Malay but influenced by Thai.[2] The Urak Lawoi are one of several southeast Asian ethnicities referred to as "sea gypsies" (chao leh in Thai).[3] The local way of life has been changing rapidly in recent years, due to the rapid encroachment of the market economy, and the opening of Tarutao National Marine Park.[1]

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