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Panyee Island

Panyee IslandKo Panyi (Thai: เกาะปันหยี) is a fishing village in Phang Nga Province, Thailand notable for being built on stilts by Indonesian fisherman. The population consists of roughly 200 families or between 1500 and 2000 people descended from 2 seafaring Muslim families from Java.


The settlement at Ko Panyi was established at the end of the 18th century by nomadic Indonesian fisherman [1]. 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.

Village Life

The 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 Ko Panyi is still primarily based around the fishing industry as tourists only visit in significant numbers during the dry season.

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In the late 20th century, the community found it difficult to subsist solely on the fishing industry and the postman proposed to invite tourists to the village to benefit the residents. Nowadays this is one of the main attractions on tours of Phang Nar Bay from Phuket, often serving as a lunch stop. With the increasing number of tourists, a number of seafood restaurants are present on the island, as well as various stalls selling souvenirs.

Coordinates: 8°20′8″N 98°30′11″E / 8.33556°N 98.50306°E / 8.33556; 98.50306

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