Mergui Archipelago

Mergui Archipelago (Last frontier for cruise hub destination in S.E. Asia)

The Mergui Archipelago is located in the southernmost part of Myanmar (Burma), comprises over 800 beautiful islands including virgin islands immense area covers approximately 36,000 sq km (14,000 sq miles). Due to its virtual isolation, the islands and surrounding seas are alive with an amazing diversity of flora & fauna and very beautiful underwater scenes and marine life just north of the Surin Islands, an imaginary line divides Thai waters from Myanmar diving here is still in its infancy, as the entire region has been off-limits to outsiders since the late 1940s.

According to Bond’s 007 Mission to Mergui movie script of ” Thunder Ball” was not permitted to shoot in Myanmar territory during the Junta regime, in the 1960s, it was created in Phuket instead of Mergui that Jamesbond Island is getting popular as a tourist spot in Thailand. After opening in 1997, the islands of the Mergui Archipelago are one of the world’s last great archipelagos to remain largely untouched. Stretching from beneath Kawthaung in the south to the Maung Ma Kan Islands in the north a distance of over 600 miles.

With white sands and crystal-clear waters, the 800 islands are home to the Salone people also known as Moken or Sea Gypsies who still maintain a largely nomadic life traveling between this the great expanse of idyllic islands, They live on boats during the dry season and remain on land during the rainy season.

They still practice the same fishing and boat building techniques used for generation.

One obvious difference, aside from the sheer number of Myanmar (Burma) islands, is their unspoiled terrestrial scenery. Dense brush and rain forest cover most areas above the high-tide line, while vast stretches of mangroves and magnificent white-sand beaches are interspersed with rocky headlands, tidal creeks and a few freshwater rivers. There are some sublime sailing and kayaking options in this secluded Archipelago, as well as some world-class diving locations. The Archipelago is home to an abundant array of life forms both above and below the water. The flora, fauna, fish, rays, sharks and corals make for an unforgettable experience.

The following famous Islands are able to explore during Sea Adventure days in Mergui.

  • Lampi Island

    Lampi is the central hub of the Mergui, one of the larger islands in the archipelago; it is home to hornbills, deer, flying foxes, and even a couple of elephants. Lampi’s designated status as a nature reserve will ensure its beauty remains.

  • Western Rocky

    One of the very best dive sites in the Mergui. Large tunnel cave through Western Rock. An abundance of variety, seahorse, giant frogfish, harlequin shrimp and numerous shark species including the bow mouth guitar shark.

  • Macleod Island

    Home to the Andaman Resort currently the only resort in the Archipelago Wildlife.

    The canopies of the jungle-clad islands are filled with birds, wildlife is plentiful including barking deer, flying lima, flying foxes, hornbills, leatherback turtles and Egrets. The islands are similar to their Thai counterparts with rugged, high-profile limestone and granite topography.

  • Burma Banks

    Only submerged by 30 meters at its shallowest point, these seamounts drop away to over 300 dive sites on the outer reaches of the Mergui Archipelago is a famous shark dive.

  • Shark Cave

    Much as the name suggests this magical underwater cave is home to a number of reef sharks.

  • Western Rocky

    One of the very best dive sites in the Mergui. Large tunnel cave through Western Rock. An abundance of variety, seahorse, giant frogfish, harlequin shrimp and numerous shark species including the bow mouth guitar shark.

  • High Rock

    High rock is a medium depth dive; the limestone formation is home to grey and white tip reef sharks as well as batfish and barracuda. Situated comparatively close to Kawthaung this is often your first taste of Mergui diving and is often completed as a night dive.

  • Island 115

    Stunning tropical island in the middle of the Mergui Archipelago, some terrific shallow snorkeling with small school fish.

  • Black Rock

    This abrupt limestone structure sits 26-30 meters beneath the surface and plays host to numerous species of eagle rays, manta rays, leopard and reef sharks.

  • Sea Fan Forest

    An underwater pinnacle submerged 6 meters below the surface, massive sea fans play host to rays, octopus, cuttlefish and seahorses.

  • Volcano

    Volcano in the very south of the islands is primarily a dive to see blacktip sharks who inhabit the geographical form.

  • Maungmagan Islands / Middle Miscos

    A group of over 30 beautiful islands off the coast of Dawei, geographically part of the Archipelago but not subject to the zoning law meaning free access. The beaches on the Eastern side of the islands are equally as beautiful as anything in the heart of the Archipelago. Also known as the Mid Miscos, these islands situated at the extreme northernmost point of the Archipelago, offshore from Maungmagan Beach. These Islands are not part of the Mergui restricted area and are openly accessible. Access can be arranged by bartering with a squid boat owner. It takes a little over two hours to access the Islands from Maungmagan Beach. Make sure the boat you hire is seaworthy, has flotation devices and takes plenty of water. The islands are covered in jungle and for the most part, have a rocky coastline with a number of small sandy beaches on the south eastern side. There is no accommodation or food available on the islands so only day trips are available at this point.

  • Kadan Island

    Late in the 2013/14 season the Myeik Immigration started letting tourists venture as far as Kadan Island has beaches on the far northern bays.

  • Myeik Island

    While the Mergui Archipelago is still a restricted area it is possible to visit the Islands directly outside the city. The closest island has a 72m reclining Buddha and a large crab farm. Both hilltop pagodas offer panoramic views of both Myeik city and the outer islands.

  • Marcus and Dome Islands

    Two islands, 2 hours from Myeik. Fresh from the start of the 2016 day trip to these amazing tropical islands. Cost is bartered with your boat captain and depends on the distance and duration you wish to travel. Kala offers plenty of mangroves to navigate through and a variety of birdlife whereas Kadan has settlements where you can observe the fisherman’s catch and see them netting jellyfish. There are also some small beaches at the far north of Kadan Island. Bushby is the essence of the Mergui Archipelago. If your reason to come here is to get away from it all, miles from anywhere on your own little beach then you will appreciate nowhere more than this island. Outside the usual liveaboard circuit in the southern group of islands, as far south from Myeik as possible in the Northern cluster, this island truly is the epicenter of escapism. The Island has a very large inset cove to the south and a stunning beach for sunsets on the westward side.

  • Kau Ye Island

    A hook-shaped Island approximately 1 hour’s boat ride from Bokpyin. The eastern side of the island holds a small number of Burmese fishing villages while the northwest presents a beautiful 4km long beach with spectacular sunsets.

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