Location – Koh Phra Thong
Tung Dap is located on the southwestern tip of Koh Phra Thong Island in Kuraburi District, Phang Nga Province. Koh Phra Thong is part of Mu Koh Ra (Ko Phra Thong National Park). Visitors can expect a tropical climate. Keep your eyes open for wildlife, including deer, which are commonly seen exploring the island. (Area Map)
Andaman Discoveries has worked with the village of Tung Dap since it began as a tsunami-relief organization in 2005. The village of Tung Dap is about 80 years old.
Koh Phra Thong, the island that is home to Tung Dap, translates to “Island of the Golden Buddha.” The name comes from the legend of a pirate who buried a looted statue somewhere on the island. In Moken folklore, it is known as the “floating island” and plays a central part in a tsunami story.
A long time ago, the Moken of Koh Phra Thong received a warning from the spirits that a tsunami was coming. The whole village fled to the nearby mountain, Po Tao, also known as Khao Phra Mee. Once at higher ground, the Moken villagers looked down as the wave covered the entire island. The island of Koh Kho Khao, just south of Koh Phra Thong, was not submerged. When Koh Phra Thong emerged from the tsunami’s inundation, the Moken returned and went on with life. That is why, in Moken language, Koh Phra Thong is called “Floating Island” and Koh Kho Khao is known as “anchor.”
Tung Dap was totally destroyed by the tsunami — the 22 Moken Thai households and 10 Buddhist Thai families lost all of their homes, possessions, and most of their boats and fishing supplies. For months, many of the residents of Tung Dap lived in temporary shelters near the mainland pier waiting for their houses to be rebuilt. The villagers remained steadfast in their determination to restore their lives and their village, and in a manner respectful of the natural environment.
Tung Dap is home to approximately 200 residents who are Thai and Moken. Homestay host Noi spent the first 24 years of her life as a sea nomad, and offers a fascinating account of her time living on a “Kabang,” which is a boat that serves as a home and a means of transportation for Moken people. Visitors to Tung Dap will have the opportunity to learn firsthand about Moken culture and traditions.