Moken in Myanmar (Burma)





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Moken people are to be found in Southern Burma or Myanmar and in Southern Thailand. They are nomadic on the sea which could make it difficult for the gospel message to be given to them.

The Moken have their own language which is Austronesian, a language used in South East Asia and Oceania. The Moken in Thailand can speak Thai while the Moken in Burma can speak Burmese.

In Thailand the Moken are known as Chao Ley and can be called Selung in Burma. Some of the Moken are Buddhists while others follow traditional religions.

The Moken live off plant life from the sea as they are familiar with the sea. That which they do not eat they exchange for other things at markets. Some Burmese Moken have small wooden boats with a living room, bedroom and kitchen and they move about on the sea in these. Some of their traditional life is lessening though.

The Thai and Burmese governments have tried to get the Moken into the cultures of their countries but it has proved difficult. The Moken live in the Surin Islands and the Phi Phi Islands. With the 2004 tsunami, many of the Moken died but in some regions knowledge of the sea helped the Moken to know the tsunami was arriving and to stay alive.

Prayer Points

* Pray that the Thai and Burmese Christians will give the gospel message to the Moken leading them to Salvation.
* Pray that the nomadic Moken can be found without too much difficulty.


Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Moken
People Name in Country Moken
Population in Myanmar (Burma) 8,500
World Population 11,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Salone, Salong, Sea Gypsy, Selung
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Malay
People Name General Moken
Ethnic Code MSY44z
People ID 13769
Country Myanmar (Burma)
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 25  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country South. Mergui Archipelago, Dung, and other islands.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Moken (8,500)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Moken 8,500
For Primary Language: Moken

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1913)
New Testament Yes   (2002)
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Moken Film / Video
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.04 %)
0.05 %
Ethnic Religions
74.95 %
0.00 %
25.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
100.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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