Maniq people
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Southern Thailand
Kensiu, Ten'edn,
Thai (L2)
Related ethnic groups

The Maniq or Mani are an ethnic group of Thailand. They are more widely known in Thailand as the Sakai (Thai: ซาไก), a controversial derogatory term meaning 'barbarism'.[2] They are the only Negrito group in Thailand and speak a variety of related Aslian languages, primarily Kensiu and Ten'edn, which do not have standard writing systems.[3]

In Thailand, the Maniq minority live in the southern provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, Phatthalung, Trang, and Satun.[2]


The Maniq are a hunting and gathering society. They build temporary huts of bamboo with roofs made of banana leaves. They hunt many types of animals and consume many different kinds of vegetables and fruits. They wear simple clothes made of materials such as bamboo leaves. They are familiar with many different species of medicinal herbs.[4]

The director-general of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Justice Ministry, said the Maniq are categorised into two groups based on where they live. The first group lives in the Titiwangsa Mountains in Yala and Narathiwat while the second group dwells in the Banthat Mountains in Phatthalung, Trang, and Satun.[2]

The total population of the Maniq is about 300 people.[5] However, they are divided into several different clans.[6]

Among the Malaysian sultans and rulers of the southern provinces of Thailand who ruled and enslaved the Negrito slaves, it was once regarded as prestigious to keep Negritos in their yards as part of collections of amusing jungle beings.[7][8] In the first decade of the twentieth century, the king of Thailand, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) visited the southern regions of his country and met with the Semang people. In 1906, an orphan Semang boy who was captured and named Khanung was sent to the royal court, where he was perceived as the adoptive son of the ruler.[9] From this event, it has led to the patronage of the Semang people by the royal court.


Occasionally, Mani Clans will move to a new area. Hunters are sent to navigate the terrain in order to find a spot for their clan to set up camp. When a spot is found the hunters return to their clan to bring them to their new home.[6]

See also


  1. ^[1]
  2. ^ a b c Laohong, King-Oua (23 December 2017). "Sea gypsies want a chance to settle down". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  3. ^ Ernst, Gabriel (21 October 2019). ""We try to not be Thai": the everyday resistance of ethnic minorities". New Mandala. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  4. ^ Hamilton, Annette (2001). "State's Margins, People's Centre: Space and History in the Southern Thai Jungles". Nomadic Peoples. 5 (2). Montreal: Commission on Nomadic Peoples: 94–95. doi:10.3167/082279401782310835. ISSN 0822-7942. OCLC 423559402. Archived from the original on 18 July 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  5. ^ Thonghom; Weber, George. "36. The Negrito of Thailand; The Mani". Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ a b Primal Survivor: Season 5, episode 1
  7. ^ John H. Brandt (1961). "The Negrito of Peninsular Thailand". Journal of the Siam Society. 49 (Pt. 2). Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre. Archived from the original on 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  8. ^ Barbara Watson Andaya & Leonard Y Andaya (2016). A History of Malaysia. Macmillan International Higher Education. pp. 168–169. ISBN 978-11-376-0515-3.
  9. ^ Woodhouse, Leslie (Spring 2012). "Concubines with Cameras: Royal Siamese Consorts Picturing Femininity and Ethnic Difference in Early 20th Century Siam". Women's Camera Work: Asia. 2 (2). Retrieved 8 July 2015.