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Postcard perfect, easily fulfilling the clichés of a tropical paradise: ribbons of white sand glow in the bright sun, all framed by the azure waters of a coral-filled sea. – NY Times

The Mergui Archipelago is an archipelago in far southern Myanmar (Burma) and is part of the Tanintharyi Region. It consists of more than 800 islands, varying in size from very small to hundreds of square kilometres, all lying in the Andaman Sea off the western shore of the Malay Peninsula near its landward (northern) end where it joins the rest of Indochina. Now that Myanmar is opening up following democratic reforms, travellers are rediscovering the Mergui Archipelago. Travel and lifestyle magazines are featuring it in their must-see lists (the words “pristine” and “paradise” liberally deployed). And – the inevitable corollary – the antennae of resort developers are twitching like mad.

Getting There

By plane

There are regular daily flights during the tourist high season (beginning October to end of April) which fly from Yangon to Kawthoung (and return) with some stopping in Dawei and Myeik.  Flights may be cancelled with little or no advance notice, due to lack of bookings, the weather, or any number of other unpredictable circumstances.

By boat

Five Star Line passenger ships may call here (approximately fortnightly) en route from Kawthoung to Yangon and/or vice-versa. Five Star Line have an office opposite the main piers. Foreigners must pay very high prices (c. USD100+) but the first-class 2-berth cabins are quite comfortable.

Special Pemit

A special permit is required for tourist who entered Myanmar through Yangon or Mandalay International Airport and would like to exit through Ranong, Thailand border town by border crossing at the end of the trip and those who entered Myanmar by border crossing from Ranong and would like to continue traveling to up country and exit through Yangon or Mandalay International Airport. Please kindly contact your local travel agent with the regarding of this special permit.

Things To Do

Salone or Moken, Sea Gypsies of the Andaman Sea

Salone of the Andaman Sea presents accounts of the nomads who live in the Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago of southern Myanmar. The minority groups of the Northern branch of the Austronesian people have a very distinctive and peculiar culture: Most of the year they live on their boats. During the rainy season they live on land, grow some plants, but are not avid cultivators and make little use of their agricultural produce. They have developed a strong cultural identity, but are nevertheless adapting to a changing environment. They still practice the same fishing and boat building techniques use for generations. They are skillful in diving and swimming. Their main livelihood is diving for pearl, collecting shells and other valuable resources in the sea.

Black Rock

Black Rock is a natural magnet for marine life. The small, steep limestone island’s underwater terrain consists of sloping reef on the north and east sides, while the south and west sides are mostly walls, dropping vertically from the surface to around 27m. From there the slope is more gradual, stepping down to 45m or more.

Though you’ll find good diving all around the island, some of the best scenery is off the southwest corner, where, at 24 to 39m, an incredibly dense mosaic of small soft corals, orange cup coral and feather stars covers the large rocks. Of particular interest are colonies of small tiger-striped anemones that cling to fan coral and gorgonian skeletons; these anemones are seldom seen outside of the Mergui Archipelago. Also check out the gravel bottom at about 30m for small but brilliantly colored filament wrasse, usually seen zipping around, flexing their fins and generally showing off.

While Black Rock is often an easy dive, ‘strong currents are not unusual. If you are diving the west end when the current is flowing west, take care not to end up past the deep westernmost rocks. Down currents can also be very strong at these times, making it difficult to get back to shallow reef areas. That said, you have no reason to be leery about diving here; just be sure to ask your dive leader about conditions before jumping in.

Burma Banks

For offshore of the Mergui Archipelago lies a series of submerged mountaintops collectively known as the Burma Banks. Surrounded by open sea in all directions, these remote, widely separated reefs were not accurately plotted on nautical charts until they were extensively dived in the early 1990s. After a series of exploratory trips by several Phuket-based live-aboards, five banks were located. Other boats followed almost immediately, and the Burma Banks quickly became a popular dive destination.

Fan Forest Pinnacle

Fan Forest Pinnacle, like Western Rocky, has been off-limits to dive boats for “security reasons” since late 1998. The authorities have not indicated wheIri this restriction may be lifted. Just 10km north of Western Rocky, this large limestone pinnacle rises from more than 45m deep to within Sm of the surface. Accordingly, it offers a good multilevd profile, although the shallowest portions are rather barren.Perhaps the site’s most_triking feature is a tremendous number of huge, undamaged orange fan corals, most of which are below 30m. Blue-ringed angelfish, lionfish and coral trout are among the most common reef fish, in addition to mid water species like jacks, barracuda and batfish. You’ll also have a good possibility of encountering big animals like leopard, grey reef and white tip reef sharks, mantas and eagle rays.

MaCleod Island

Itis one of the unspoiled islands in the Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago which is a perfect place for diving, snorkelling, sea kayaking and fishing, as well as bird watching, short trekking and jungle safari.

Pataw Padet Island

This island is just five minute boat ride from the Myeik (Mergui), is named after two prominent hills at either end of the island, several religious buildings, stupas and sculptures have been constructed on the island.

Mergui Tour Inquiry

 

 
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