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Home > Myanmar Highlights > Off-the-beaten-track > Mergui Archipelago Sea Adventures

Mergui Archipelago Sea Adventures

Info Map Exclusive Sea
Adventures

Mergui (Myeik) Archipelagos

The hidden treasures of Andaman Sea

The Myeik Archipelago, which stretches down the entire length of the southern coastal line, numbers 804 islands of every size in an area of approximately 36,000 sq km. While a few of the islands are just mere rocks rising abruptly from the sea, some islands are bigger than Singapore. Some of the islands are only recognized by the number, while many of them had got English names during British era; like Loughborough, St. Mathews, Wale, and Macleod etc. Nowadays, these islands got their Burmese names after 1990. Nearly all of the islands are forest-clad, and most are hilly, often fringed with mangrove swamps, and many of them have bright-white sandy attractive beaches. With the exception of King Island, which is partly settled by Bamars, Mons and Karens, and some fishing villages, more or less deserted during the monsoon. The rest islands are almost uninhabited and densely forested with tall green trees that had withstood the sea and the wind for centuries; but for the salons or sea- gypsies who wander among them from their house-boats.

The only group of people who adapted to this area is the Mokens. The waters of Mergui Archipelagos are the safe and prospering home to a group of nomadic people, locally known as Salons or the Mokens. These people live on their boat-house with all their possessions including house-pets and move from one island to another to harvest the sea. They are born-divers – collecting pearls, sea cucumbers, shells, and other highly-valued marine products from the seabed.

Myanmar is fortunate enough to possess the world’s fast deforesting “Sundiac Forests”, a kind of earth’s oldest forest with rich biodiversity, in Mergui Archipelagos region and still has opportunities to maintain its world last & largest Sundiac forests that have an area of 115,349 acre. Additionally, various types of mangroves and tidal forests that give a balance to the eco-system of the entire archipelagos can be seen.

One of the highlights in this archipelago is the Lampi Island, which is oriented in a north-south direction, is about 48 km long and has a maximum width of some 6 km, becomes the nation’s first Marine National Park, comprises Lampi Island (16,800 ha), the associated islands and the intervening sea (about 370,000 ha) – a home for the 520 marine species, 8 coral types, 26 kind of shells, 4 species of sea cucumbers, bountiful plants and bugs species according to the initial surveys; plus mangrove rivers, no less than ten attractive beaches, and the wildlife - an ideal place for the nature lovers and adventurists.

A remarkable feature of the coast scenery is the presence of limestone and granite cliffs, towering sheer out of the water for several hundred feet, and forming caves which recall the interior of a Gothic cathedral, while others enclose lakes accessible only at low tide through tunnels in the rock; They are the home of the tiny swift that builds the edible nest of commerce.

There are activities for everyone – ranging from island hopping visits, jungle trekking, hiking, swimming, sea & Mangrove Rivers kayaking, snorkeling, sport fishing, village tours, to sunbathing on the pearly sands just you and your footprints! For those who wants to explore the wonderland of underwater beauties, there are world-class dive sites await you. 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.

Apart from the gambling-oriented, non-beachside Andaman Resort located directly opposite Kawthaung, so far, there is only one resort hotel for the leisure-wise tourists namely Myanmar Andaman Resort (MAR) is established 40-notical miles off the Tanintharyi coast. From your base at MAR, you can do various adventure activities. Another ideal trip is the live-aboard tours that would let you experience what Mergui Archipelago has to offer at her best.

Islands Information (Mergui Archipelagos)

Kyun Pilar (Great Swinton) Island

Located on northwest-west of Nyaung Wee island an surround by the blue turquoise waters with high visibility to the 15-20m deep bottom covered with beautiful corals… a great snorkeling site. A 1.6km long beach is in the north and another 0.8km long beach & the snorkeling site is in the southwest. Nearby Bo Ywe` island has a fresh-water well whereas 1.6km long beach and another snorkeling site are on its north-eastern side. The so-called “Shark Cave” is approximately 4.5km west of Kyun Pila, where one can find some nurse and grey reef sharks permanently living in an underwater cave. 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.

Nyaung Wee Islands Group (Palau Bada)

Nyaung Wee islands group consist of mainly three islands: No. 115, Po Ni, and main (big) Nyaung Wee.

No. 115 Island – also called Forest Island, is 39-mile (62km) from Kawthaung and a major stopover. It has noticeable vast, white powdery sandy beaches, glass-clear waters filled with multi-colored coral gardens with schools of small reef fishes, in its vicinities. There are two swiftlets caves in the southern part, which can enter directly by kayak when tide ebbs. There’s a jungle trail, leading from one side of the shore to another, enables jungle trekking trip on this island where many King Fishers call it their home. This island is an ideal place for swimming, snorkeling, jungle trekking and bird watching.

Po Ni Island – A beautiful island lies in the east of 115 and south of main Nyaung Wee I. There are three pretty beaches in its western part and a snorkeling site in the south. There are a few caves on the islands where rare and endangered Sea Otters were seen in 1998. A resort hotel will be appeared on this island if all the negotiations go well with the authorities.

Main island of Nyaung We – is a bigger island with dense forest-clad mountains running north-south. There is a village where Kayin, Mon, and a few Bamars and a couple of Salon family live. Most of them are fishermen while the rest sell things: foodstuffs, diesel for the long tailed boat engines and spare parts. A 1.6km long beach and a mangrove forest can be visited in its western shore for swimming or kayaking.

Bo Cho (Pu Nala)

It is located just south of Lampi (Lamp) Island and a major settlement for a race of Salons (Moken – Sea Gypsies). Many of them still live on the boats and stay on the islands for a short monsoon break, to shelter from the severe storms. The village on this island is called Makyon Galet, which is located on the northern shoreline of Bo Cho I, overlooking a bay and the big Lampi I. The channel between Bo Cho and Lampi has a very strong current and not suitable to do other activities but to make a worthwhile village tour. Bo Cho has a mile-long sandy beach in the south. A troop of Macacas use to visit the beach in search of crabs when the tide ebbs. There are three islands in the south of Bo Cho; Linshu, Gugyi, and No. 3, whereas Linshu has a notable round-shape beautiful beach.

No. 60 Island

This is a tiny island, which has no given name but recognized by the number. The island’s vicinity offers one of the most beautiful snorkeling opportunities in Mergui Archipelagos. The coral world, including 3-m diameter coral tables are connected each other and even grown daringly to the shorelines. The water is glass-clear and schools of flickering fishes make this site pretty attractive.

Ku Bo (Ko Phawt) Island

It’s a beautiful island located close to and virtually protected from long Lampli Island. Although it has no attractive beach, the island itself is the birders alike as watching of the fly foxes and hornbills coming back to their nests on this island every evening around 6:00pm is truly spectacular. There is a freshwater well in its south so the traveling Mokens use to make a stop to fetch water or take a picnic.

Wa Ale (Wale) Island

Another good site for snorkeling is in the west side of Wale I, which is about 1o to 15 meters deep. The footprints of animals on its white sandy beaches prove their existence on this island. There you can also find sea turtles laying eggs in the sand at certain months. A jungle trail allows you to hike up to the rainforest clad hilltop providing panoramic sceneries.

Salet Galet

Satlet Bay (Galet = bay or water channel) is a 3-km long, 150-m wide channel separating Lampi and Wa Ale islands. On its steep slopping sides are fringed by dense rainforests and mangroves and the vast coral gardens beneath the crystal-clear bottom. The current is comparatively stable even in the stormy weather. Based from this stopover, one can enjoy kayaking on mangrove river of Lampi (also called crocodile river), snorkeling, jungle trekking on Wale or Lampi islands, hike up to 385-m high view point, where dazzling views of Lampi, Wale, Kanzargyi (Clara I) and Black Islands can be experienced. This naturally protected channel has outstanding beauties and is a good place to spot for the bountiful wildlife.

Cavern (McCarthy) islands

These Cavern islands are located south of Jar Lann (Loughborough) Island, a Burmese navy base where the access is forbidden. The Investigator channel is just south of Cavern islands. The McCarthy vicinity is good for snorkeling despite the strong current and exciting Kayaking trip can be done into the caves when the tide ebbs. The trekking trip to its pinnacle is also highlighted where the trail leads streams and falls.

Lampi (Lamp) Island – the first marine park of Myanmar

 
 

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