Urak Lawoi

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Urak Lawoi
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Southern Thailand
Urak Lawoi’, Malay, Thai
Traditional religion, Theravada Buddhism, Islam

Urak Lawoi (Malay: Orang Laut; Thai: อูรักลาโว้ย; RTGSUrak Lawoi) are an aboriginal Hesperonesian 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, Chao Tha Le (ชาวทะเล), Chao Nam (ชาวน้ำ), 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 Austronesian 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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wongbusarakum, Supin. "Changing Ways of Life of the Urak Lawoi (abstract)". Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  2. ^ "Ethnologue report for language code:urk". Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  3. ^ "Chow Lair Village in Ko Sireh". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2018-04-16.