Koh Panyee (Ko Panyi)

Ko Panyi (Panyee)

Ko Panyi (Panyee)

Koh Panyee
koh-panyeeKoh Panyee is a fishing village in Phang Nga , Thailand notable for being built on stilts by Indonesian fishermen. The population consists of roughly 200 families or between 1500 and 2000 people descended from 2 seafaring Muslim families from Java.

An amazing sight nestled in the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea off the coast of Phang Nga, Koh Panyee is a centuries-old Muslim fishing village which is, unsurprisingly, home to amazing seafood restaurants.

On arriving at Koh Panyee visitors are greeted by the sight of around 500 fishing huts perched on stilts extending out over the water from the island, which are home to the majority of the 250 families who occupy the island and make their living from the sea.

The food is the main attraction on Koh Panyee as the island is tiny and there is little else to do here. A glimpse of a very different and self-sufficient side of Thailand, however, can be had.

Ko Panyi (Panyee)

Ko Panyi (Panyee)

Koh PanyeeThe settlement at Koh Panyee was established at the end of the 18th century by nomadic Malay fisherman. Koh Panyee is known as Pulau Panji in Malay language. It was during this time that the law limited land ownership solely to people of Thai national origins, and due to this fact the settlement was, for the most part, built on stilts within the protection of the island’s bay, providing easy access for the life of a fisherman. With the increase of wealth for the community, due to the growing tourism industry within Thailand, purchase of land on the island itself became a possibility, and the first structures of relevance were built; a mosque and a freshwater well.

koh-panyeeThe village has a Muslim school which is attended by both males and females in the mornings. Due to the informal nature of this education, many of the male children attend schools further afield in Phang Nga or in Phuket. Further emigration from the village is encouraged as the size of the settlement is restricted by dangerous water conditions in the rainy season.

A mosque based on the island adjacent to the settlement serves the predominantly Muslim population and is a focal point and meeting place for the community. A market stocked with goods from the mainland sells basic amenities such as medicine, clothes and toiletries.

Despite the recent rise in tourism, life in Koh Panyee is still primarily based around the fishing industry as tourists only visit in significant numbers during the dry season.

Ko Panyi (Panyee)

Ko Panyi (Panyee)

How to get there

Koh Panyee is best accessed by longtail boat from the Phang Nga mainland, with the crossing taking 25 minutes. The nearest airport is at Phuket, 1-hour, 20-minute flight or 12-hour bus ride from Bangkok.

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