Headwinds buffet Thailand’s ‘sea nomads’, in Nikkei Asia


PHANG NGA, Thailand — “I get a lot of motivation from the life I chose,” says Lena Bumiller-Klathale, a 34-year-old German who has traded her European past for a life on the ocean in Asia. “Living on a boat without running water could be seen as backward, but sailing to a beautiful bay and taking a shower under a waterfall can be satisfying. Other people go to an office and a gym every day. For me, carrying water is more meaningful.”

Born in Hamburg, Bumiller-Klathale studied social sciences in the Netherlands before traveling to Asia in 2011 and marrying Suriyan Klathale, a “sea nomad” better known as Hook, in 2018. Hook, 36, grew up on a kabang, the traditional houseboats of the Moken, a nomadic Austronesian group community that has traveled the Andaman Sea coast of Thailand and Myanmar for centuries, living off the ocean and the coastal forest…

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Listen to the music of the Moken.