The Bajau Laut — sometimes known as ‘sea gypsies‘ — are a semi nomadic people who live in the water surrounding the southern Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Shrugging off tales of pirates and kidnapping, I headed out into the Celebes Sea, off the east coast of Malaysian Borneo.
My days on the water were characterised by an intoxicating hospitality which enabled me to witness first-hand how these sea-faring people live.
I was able to see understand the tussle the Bajau Laut feel between their traditional values and the modernity sought by many of their youth.
Need to know
Getting there: Boat trips to the Celebes Sea depart from Semporna, 51 miles from Tawau Airport, which has connections to Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru.
Best time to go: There’s no ‘bad’ time to visit Borneo but the months between March and October tend to be the driest.
Time zone: GMT+8