Sea nomads’ mobile vernacular architecture: case studies of Moken ethnic group in Mu ko Surin, Phangnga province and Urak Lawoi ethnic group in Baan To - Baliew, ko Lanta Yai, Krabi province


  • อัมพิกา อำลอย คณะสถาปัตยกรรมศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัยศิลปากร
  • วีระ อินพันทัง คณะสถาปัตยกรรมศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัยศิลปากร


Moken ethnic group, Urak Lawoi ethnic group, mobility settlement, vernacular architecture, cultural ecology


This article aims to study about the sea nomads’ mobility settlement and architectural structure before changing from mobile to permanent settlement. The research process is based on a field study, focusing on 2 sea nomad groups namely; Moken ethnic group in Mu ko Surin in Phangnga province, and Urak Lawoi ethnic group in Baan To - Baliew, Mu ko Lanta Yai, Krabi province. The result shows that in the certain moment, sea nomad’s mobility settlement is the suitable way of life choice. Fruitful natural resources had been the key factor sea nomads decided to stay within their compact society, relying on hunting and gathering. They are mutual with the nature and rather adapt themselves than control it. When the sea nomads choose a settlement location, they will find a place to park their boats, remove and and fix the boats’ roofs using materials from the surroundings, transforming them into shelters. They will be on the sea again after the natural resources are reduced. Their temporary settlement is based on climate factor, especially during monsoon seasons. Moreover, sea Mokens’ boats and shelters have the architectural structure that responds to humans’ safe and convenient way of life, as a result of the relationship between humans, manmade structures and surroundings.


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