Myeik (also known as Mergui) Archipelago is a group of islands located in the Southern region of Myanmar on the Andaman Sea. It comprises more than 800 pristine islands of varying sizes. These untouched islands are renowned for their pristine white-sand beaches and diverse marine life. Myeik City, located in the far south of the region is a must see. Apart from being a gorgeous and remote island, Myeik also has a host of to an amazing colonial-era buildings, and boasts a 500-year long nautical history. The clear waters are also perfect for pearl cultivation. For a nature lover, Myeik is heaven on earth. The unparallel diversity of flora and fauna coupled with breathtaking underwater scenes and marine life make for an unforgettable holiday destination. Apart from the sea, Myeik has a number of lakes, lagoons and abundant wildlife, all typically laying undiscovered by travellers. It’s time to uncover the Myeik Archipelago.
Origin: People of Dawei, Bamar, Rakhine, Mon, Shan, Burmese-Thai, Kayin, Salone and Malay lineage are part of the region. They typically speak Myanmarese/Burmese, Dawei and Thai and are followers of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
Geography: Myeik has a tropical monsoon climate and is very warm throughout the year. Extending across 43,345 sq.km/16,736 miles, it is bordered by Mon State, the Andaman Sea and Thailand. Heavy rains fall typically from May to September.
Interesting Facts: From the late 13th Century to the middle of 18 Century, Myeik was part of the Thai Kingdoms of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya. Myeik is famous for it’s products such as pearl, rubber, bird’s nest, dried fish, dried prawn and shrimp paste.
Beautiful Islands & Beaches
Myeik Archipelago is home to islands and beaches that are unspoilt and show little signs of human intervention. Letting nature stay pristine, is the best way one can respect nature. The people of Myanmar strongly believe this. The Myeik Archipelago is home to 800 islands and it will take many, many trips to fully experience all of them. Each island, big or small has its specific character, provides niches of fun for all travellers. From the large Lampi island located in the Southern portion to Cock’s Comb Island with a heart shaped lagoon, there is much to see and photograph. These islands are an Instagrammer’s dream. Maungmagan Beach, located 16 km from Dawei, is the most notable beach of this region and definitely the most popular among tourists. With the vast expanse of sea on one side and rising hills on the other, this beach hosts a seaside village.
The Myeik Archipelago is home to a number of tribes who have built a habitat in these group of islands over centuries. Each tribe has its own specific way of living that is completely different from one another. For someone looking for experiential travel, interacting with these tribes will be an experience of a lifetime. The Salone people, also known as Moken, are a prominent tribe who live on the sea around the Myeik Archipelagos. They spend their whole life on small boats and earn their livelihood by diving for pearls and looking for other sea products. They come to land only for shelter from cyclones during the monsoon season. The Salone Festival (usually held in February) is an opportunity for tourists to explore it’s seafaring, tribal existence. One can experience spiritual dances, folk songs, and customs of the tribe, enjoy the diving and rowing competitions and also savour a traditional Salone feast.
The Andaman Sea is known for its marine life diversity, the best of which can be explored in the Myeik Archipelago. These islands are known for their scenic marine life with crystal clear waters. Most islands present excellent opportunities to snorkel and dive and enjoy oneself. Apart from the sea, the islands have a number of lakes and lagoons that are teaming with wildlife. Tourists can go for trekking or hikes and enjoy the wildlife while walking through the whistling woods. Some islands host rare bird species presenting unique bird spotting opportunities for bird lovers. Myeik archipelago is also a centre for pearl cultivation. Tourists can get a glimpse of how this is done while visiting these islands. Extensive conservation activities are carried out across the islands to maintain this biodiversity.
Lampi Island: Lampi Island is the largest and most famous island in this region. Located in the Southern half of the archipelago, this island is shaped like a giant horseshoe. It was established as Myanmar’s first Marine National Park in 1995 and hosts an unbelievable variety of flora and fauna. It was declared as an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2003.
Macleod Island: Macleod is an unspoiled island with white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters in the Myeik Archipelago. Located around 40 nautical miles away from Kawthaung, it is a prime location for snorkelling, diving, sea kayaking, fishing, bird watching, trekking and jungle safari. Tourists can take advantage of guided trips to explore the island.
Cocks Comb Island: Cocks Comb Island or the emerald heart island requires a 4-hour journey by boat from Kawthaung. It is the new destination for the Andaman Sea Snorkeling Tour. The highlight is the heart-shaped lagoon located in between mountains of the island. It is considered a treasure island for underwater life. The island also has innumerable caves.
Bo Cho Island: A beautiful island in the Andaman Sea, Bo Cho is situated in the south of Lampi Island. It hosts a mile-long sandbank and scenic views overlooking the village from the pagoda located on the hill. It has a major settlement of Salone people. Tourists looking to explore the beauty of nature and catch a glimpse of the life of the Salone people can visit this island.
Kyun Phi Lar: Kyun Phi Lar also called Pilar has long white beaches which stretch for miles. One can spot monkeys sitting on the beach and leisurely snacking on crabs. Although a tourist favourite, most parts of the island are untouched and extremely clean. One can enjoy kayaking or paddle boating. The colourful coral reefs present an excellent opportunity to snorkel.
Island 115: This island is often called the frost island and owns some of the best beaches in the archipelago. The soothing ocean waters are perfect to enjoy a nice swim. Much of this island has thick green forest presenting excellent opportunities for trekking. Apart from this, one can also enjoy snorkelling and kayaking. The forest has several rare bird species.
Salone Festival: Around late April, this one-day festival is celebrated by the Salone people. During the festival, all the villagers gather, offer food and pray for a better year for business, good health and prosperity. They also enjoy their meals, drink and dance traditionally during this festival.
Tazaungmon Full Moon Festival: This festival is celebrated throughout the country during the full moon after the rains. Since the monks need new robes after the rains, on the full moon day, new robes are given to the monks along with other offerings which include slippers, umbrellas, alms bowls, food, towels, soap and other necessities.