The Mergui Archipelago is located in the south of Myanmar in Burma. A part of the Tanintharyi region, it is a visually stunning collection of over 800 islands that is a diving and sailing enthusiast’s paradise.
Although the islands are comprised mainly of granite and limestone, the thick, luscious rainforests, that cover them create a truly spectacular sight. Stunning expanses of coastline provide countless opportunities for sailing, diving or simply lying back and enjoying the sunshine.
For travellers who like to leave the hustle and bustle of modern life behind, the islands’ isolation from civilisation – as well as their rich and varied flora and fauna – makes the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar a tropical paradise without comparison.
How to Get to the Mergui Archipelago
Reaching this stunning area of Myanmar and the surrounding islands usually involves a flight from Yangoon, but it can also be reached relatively easy from over the border in Thailand. Regular cruises and sailing excursions set sail from Phuket, Khao Lak or Ranong that combine some stunning views of the archipelago with a comfortable way to get there. If you decide to fly, you will need to plan your trip carefully, as only two to three flights leave from Yangoon to Kaw Thaung every week. The Mergui Archipelago’s location in the Andaman Sea gives it a slightly more temperate climate than inland areas of Burma and Thailand, but the temperature rarely drops below 25C. And with reliable and persistent coastal breezes, the area is perfect for sailing. By visiting between December and March, you will most likely avoid the monsoon season that Myanmar and Kaw Thaung are so renowned for.
In And Around Kaw Thaung
A great place to start your sightseeing is at Kaw Thaung Pier, where you can take a stroll around the vibrant market area of this thriving border settlement. Victoria Point – the southernmost point of Myanmar’s mainland – is only a short distance away, and the King Bayint Naung statue provides tourists with an excellent photo opportunity.
Stunning views over the river to Ranong can be enjoyed during a visit to the Pyi Daw Aye Pagoda, and the surrounding fishing settlements are as quaint as they are fascinating.
Then, when you’re finally ready to call it a day, board a luxury, overnight cruise to the surrounding islands and the Three Islets. Many of the area’s sailing and diving excursions leave from the pier, so the district is a real hive of activity.
Activities: Sailing, Beaches and Scuba Diving
Myanmar is renowned for its white-sand beaches, many miles of gorgeous coastline and its spectacular diving locations. A trip to Nyaung Wee Island, Lampi Island and Bo Cho Island will provide you with countless opportunities for diving in crystal-clear waters whilst admiring the hundreds of tropical fish and the coral reef that can be found in plentiful supply. Local diving schools offer instruction for beginners and experts alike. If you’re more of a land-lover, take a walk into the dense tropical jungle of Nyaung Wee and explore the ancient charm of Moken Village.
The best way to fully appreciate the natural beauty of Tar Yar and Pilar islands is by sailing around them on one of the many organised tours that set sail from Kaw Thaung and many of the fishing villages in the region. And if you’re a real adrenaline junkie, the kayaking opportunities on Tar Yar Island are amongst the most exciting in the world. Make sure you take the time to relax and enjoy the stunning range of cuisine that Myanmar is so famous for, and a great way to do that is by enjoying a barbecue dinner on a cruise around Salon Island.
Whether you are looking for world-class diving opportunities or some of the world’s most spectacular sailing routes, Myanmar and Kaw Thaung have a great deal to offer. A stay in this beautiful Asian paradise can be whatever you want it to be. Relax on the white-sand beaches with cocktails and endless sunshine, soak up the Burmese way of life in the bustling markets and eateries of Kaw Thaung town, or simply gaze in wonderment at some of the most beautiful islands found anywhere on earth.