Sea Gypsies: Tribe Living In Borneo Create Their Own Little Paradise On The Water


A tribe from Borneo known as the Bajau, are considered ‘sea gypsies’ for good reasons, the peaceful tribe has made a life based upon the water for years. Traditionally, the Bajau made homes on small boats, spending their days out on the water relying completely on their fishing gear to sustain life.

In the past, most members of the tribe lived in hiding from the outside world, and many still do reside in the middle of nowhere, creating their own floating villages from the coral reefs. Today, some of these incredibly resourceful folks come on shore to live on the small islands and sell their fish. The Bajau continue to rely on the water to make a living, always expanding their ever-growing knowledge of the ocean.

French photograph Réhahn recently spent a few days with the lovely sea gypsies, who remain largely unknown by modern society. During this time he was able to learn so much, as well as take breathtaking photographs of what life looks like when you live for and by the water.

As a traveling photographer, Réhahn has meet cultures from all around the world, but his experience with the Bajau have changed him forever, enlightening him to another level of peace and serenity.


Known as nomads of the sea, the Bajau are not accepted or recognized by neighboring countries. They don’t let it get to them though, it is their choice to live in their own isolated paradise.


The tribe does not know how to read or write; instead they are fluent in the waters of the ocean.


The Bajau do not classify one another by age, instead you are simply as old or as young as you feel in your heart. While they can roughly estimate age, time is of no matter to them. These peaceful sea gypsies prefer to live in the present moment.


People of all ages participate in catching fish and helping sustain a living. Children love to spend time out on the boats, learning to swim and dive like their expert elders. When children reach around 8-years-old they are taught how to hunt.


Many live in huts on stilts along the water. Here, the women give birth to babies that will live and die on the very same land their ancestors have enjoyed for countless years.





Photo Credits:

If you love learning about diverse cultures around the world, you must see The Beauty Of Everyday Life For Reindeer People From Mongolia.