Burma Boating is set to launch monthly cruises around the Mergui Archipelago, combining two of the most sought-after activities in these clear waters – yachting and scuba diving. These being inshore waters, visibility isn’t as good as what you’d find in the Maldives, but marine life is abundant. Outer islands, like those of northern Thailand, are mostly granitic, whereas inshore islands are often composed of limestone. Western Rocky consists of several dive sites and we will show you the best of it on this safari.
While that could change in the years ahead, for now, Mergui’s resorts really do feel like a private island paradises. So the Mergui archipelago and its amazing eco-resorts offer something which is needed, and necessary. The lack of infrastructure on the uninhabited islands means it may long remain ‘off the beaten track’ and offer a welcome escape from the pressures of modern life, and the perils of over-tourism.
For this reason we advise our guests to travel to Kawthaung through Thailand. Because of the remoteness of the Mergui Archipelago, you can expect uncrowded dive sites throughout the diving season. Of the eight hundred islands of the Mergui Archipelago only a dozen or so are permanently inhabited.
On our last night in the archipelago we anchored in a small bay between two low islands with names straight out of a Scooby-Doo episode: Myauk Pyu (White Monkey) and Thay Yae (Ghost). Myanmar’s Moken have lived in the islands for hundreds of years. If you are arriving from within Myanmar, you can fly directly to Kawthaung Airport, which is connected to Yangon and two domestic airports and served by several local airlines.
Kawthaung is the gateway to the new tourist destination of Mergui Archipelago, possibly the last island paradise left. Its waters are visited by many of Mergui’s pelagic fish such as Zambezi (bull) sharks, rainbow runners, and eagle rays. Having white attractive beaches, crystal-clear waters, hard corals and wildlife on the island like swine, monitor lizards, snakes, wildcats, wild boars make this island a popular stopover.
Some popular dive-sites like Burma Banks, Roe Bank, Western Rocky, North & South Twins, Tower Rock, Shark-cave, and MaCarthy etc… offer highly clear visibility in the waters, pristine multi-colored coral gardens and rich marine life including grey-reef sharks, silvertips, mantra ray, devil ray (mobula), surgeon, moray & ribbon eels, cowries, frogfish, ghost pipefish, crustaceans, barracuda, parrots fish, lobsters, bottlenose dolphins to name a few and many other shimmering school of reef fishes.
As of early 2016, public boats between Kawthaung, Myeik and Dawei are not running. One of the most renowned dive sites in Southeast Asia is the huge Burma Banks including Silvertip, Rainbow, Roe, Coral, and Heckford banks). On an island called Chin Kait (Burmese for mosquito bite”), stands the ruin of a resort project begun by Tay Za, one of Myanmar’s most prominent military-linked tycoons.