Myeik and its archipelago, a hidden paradise in Myanmar

By Truly_Star | Nov 8, 2019
Asia > Myanmar

A beach at Dome Island at Myeik Archipleago

A beach at Dome Island at Myeik Archipleago

Myeik District is a part of Taninthayi region, a narrow coastal area at the South of Myanmar. It borders the Andaman Sea to the west and the Taninthayi Mountain Ranges, beyond which lies Thailand, to the east. There are many islands off the coast, the vast Mergui Archipelago in the southern and central coastal areas. Dawei and Kawtaung are another two districts of this region.

Myeik was initially the southernmost city of Bagan Kingdom. Then it fell to the Siamese kingdom of Thailand until King Alaungpaya of Konebang Dynasty recaptured it at 1760.
The city of Myeik, Beik as the local name, is a busy seaport and trading center for seafood, pearls, forest product, and eatable bird’s nest. There are many valuable tin mines, Palm plantation for oil, and rubber plantation and evergreen forest around Myeik. The city is on the island in the mouth of Tanintharyi River.

The inhabitants living in Myeik are Bamars, Mons, Daweis, Kayins, Hindus, and Muslims. The locals speak the same language as Myanmar do but with a different accent.
Myeik has been cut off from the rest of Myanmar for a very long time. Overland travel was prohibited for foreigners and only possible with a special permit.

This area is renowned for its uniquely beautiful pearls. Natural ones harvesting at Myeik islands has been prominent since 1891. Foreign experts introduced the technique of oyster farming for pearls, and now it was widely produced. Nearby water around the mangrove forest and these islands provide excellent fishing grounds for the locals.
Myeik serves as a gateway to the famed Mergui Archipelago, a collection of 800 idyllic and little-explored tropical islands which stretch along with the southern city of Kawthaung.

How to get there

Myeik can be reached by air from Yangon, Dawei, and Kawthaung. It has road and sea connections. MNA flies from Yangon to Myeik daily. Several coaches run daily from Yangon to Myeik, and the trip will take about 19 hours.

What to see and do

  • Theindawgyi Paya on a hill right in the middle of town offers a splendid panoramic view over the city and nearby islands.
  • Local fish market
  • Walking around the Muslim quarter
  • visit some of the heritage houses of Myeik city
  • Visit edible-nest swiftlet birds are dwelling.
  • Soft shell crab farming
  • Pa Htet reclining Buddha with a small museum inside.
  • Wooden boat Yard at the outskirt of Myeik
  • Sightseeing Boating tour (Day trip and multi-day trip)

The boat tours are operating around the island of Myeik Archipelago in only peak season. Some tours are departing from Myeik to visit Island of Northern Archipelago while other yachting tour departing from Kawthaung.

The Local Foods

KetKyikite is the most popular local style friend noodles that come with beans sprouts, boiled beans, spring onions, and squid and prawn.

Mot kale Mae is also favorite snack made of Black colored sticky rice and coconut, butter and sugar.

Myeik Archipelago

Mergui or Myeik archipelago comprises more than 800 pristine islands varying in size covering an area of 10,000 sq. Miles. It is renowned for its crystal clear water, pristine white-sanded beaches, and diverse marine life. It is heaven for nature lovers and those looking for a private beach or island at their holidays.

The forests that grow on these islands have a variety of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems and inhabitants. The surrounding waters are rich in marine fishes, mammals (dolphins) and marine turtles and birds. The archipelago is virtually isolated but you will find the islands and surrounding seas alive with a fantastic diversity of wildlife, flora, and fauna. Parrots, hornbills, sea eagles Brahmin kites and herons fill the skies. On land, the animal population includes monkeys, wild cattle, elephants, deer, wild pigs, crocodiles, tigers, and rhinoceros. Crab-eating monkeys can be seen here on the shoreline.

Trekking on an Island, Myeik

Trekking on an Island, Myeik

Salone or Sea gypsies

They have been the sole inhabitants of the Mergui Archipelago over the years, and they still use the same fishing and boat building techniques which they have been using for many generations. Their villages and their lifestyle are very simple. They stayed on Island during monsoon and spent the rest of the year on their boats.

Lampi Marine National Park

It can reach from Myeik, about 90 nautical miles southwest, 30 miles west from Bokpyin and 60 miles northwest from Kawthaung. This marine park offers a great variety of breathtaking scenery and wildlife, with more dense forests, beach and dune forests, tidal mangroves, magnificent beaches, and spectacular coral formation. Its beaches are unspoiled and have beautiful coral reefs for snorkeling. To discover this area entirely, it would need at least three days by boat.

Marine Organisms at sea bed near Zar Det Gyi Island, Myeik

Marine Organisms at sea bed near Zar Det Gyi Island, Myeik

Getting to these islands

The only two places to access the Mergui archipelagoes are Myeik or Kawthaung. Flights depart daily from Yangon to both destinations.

Since 2015 restrictions on day trips in the islands have eased somewhat; there are more and more day trio and shorter cruise options available from Myeik and Kawthaung.

The Southern Archipelago has seen a handful of tourists for the last 20 years, but still not every island has been visited. Mostly visited the islands from Kaw Thaung are Mway Daw Island, Bo Cho Island, Nyaung Wee Island, Island 115, Western Rocky, Cook comb, Macleod Island.

The Northern Mergui Archipelago remains uncharted as nearly all live aboard leave from the south. Myeik has plenty of options for day tours and just started the overnight cruising. Some of the well-known islands which are easily accessible from Myeik is Kadan Island, Marcus Island, Mergui Island, Dome Island, Smart Island, Kyail Laik Island and Dana Theik Di Island.

From Myeik, licensed tour operators can take travelers on day trips or overnight trips for up to four days. The trippers can spend their time on islands in the northern part of the archipelago by visiting fishing villages, snorkeling relaxing at white-sand beaches, swimming in crystal clear water and do island safari. For overnight tours, accommodation is usually on board the boat.

Taninthayi Archipelago Asia Island Myanmar Myeik

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Written by Truly Star
We are a local travel agent providing city tour, excursions and extended trips to the visitors to Myanmar

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