The Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago
Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago features more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands throughout the Andaman Sea. The Archipelago is located off the coast between Myeik (Mergui) and Kawthaung (Victoria Point). Due to its virtual isolation, the islands and surrounding seas are alive with an amazing diversity of flora and fauna and beautiful underwater scenes and marine life. Mergui Archipelago is famous as a destination for activities such as diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, fishing and research. There are few islands left in the world as pristine and untouched as those in Mergui Archipelago.
Salone OR Moken, “Sea Gypsies” of the Adaman Sea
The Sea Gypsies of the Andaman Sea are the nomads of the Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago of southern Myanmar. This minority group of the northern branch of the Austronesian people have a very distinctive and peculiar culture: most of the year, they live on their boats. During the rainy season, they live on land, grow some plants, but are not avid cultivators and make little use of their agricultural produce. They have developed a strong cultural identity, but are nevertheless adapting to a changing environment. They still practice the same fishing and boat building techniques used for generations. They are skillful in diving and swimming. Their main livelihood is diving for pearl, collecting shells and other valuable resources in the sea.
The Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago is one of the most scenic and charming island groups in Southeast Asia. Comprising more than 800 tropical islands scattered over an area of some ten thousand square miles in the Andaman Sea, off the south west coast of Myanmar, it is home to Salons, sea gypsies famous for their unique way of life.
The Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, unspoiled beaches, limestone cliffs and the lucrative business of pearl farming. Due to the insecure situation of the region, it has for long been off-limits for foreigners until 1997. However, this situation is rapidly changing, and now the Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago can easily be reached from both Kawthaung, the southern tip of Myanmar and Ranong (Thailand).
There are basically 2 ways to explore the archipelago. Either book a cruise on one of the beautiful yachts or stay at a resort and take daily excursions by long-tail boat. Either way, Grand Lotus Tours can arrange a wonderful vacation in this pristine archipelago.
The west coastline : You will get a chance to view the beautiful ‘Macleod Island’. From there, we will take you to Kyun Su (Cockburn Islands) and Lei Ywei Lay Lone to visit the sea caves and rock formations. The next island we will pass by is ‘Ba Wei Island’ (McCarthy) and its vertical rock cliff. We will then continue to ‘Jar Lann Kyun Island’ (Loughborough). This beautiful island is looking towards the forests.
The north coastline: You will experience the most stunning beaches and beautiful waters of the Andaman Sea. We will pass through ‘Kyun Phi Lar’ and ‘Bo Ywe’ Islands and will stop at the waterfall, situated on ‘Bo Ywe’s western shore.
You can enjoy lunch at ‘Nga Mann Island’ and swimming or snorkeling facilities are available. If the weather permits, we can anchor at one of the islands and view hornbills and eagles in their natural habitat. From ‘Nga Lon Lett Phei Island’ beach, we can see in the distance the shoreline of the west coast.
At ‘Nyaung Wee Island’ you can visit the ‘Salon’ (Moken) Village. Salon are a nomadic seafaring ethnic group who until recently were notorious for their piracy. Their lifestyle has changed very little over the years. They have been the sole inhabitants of the Mergui Archipelago since times immemorial. They live on their small boats within the countless bays of the archipelago where they find shelter from storms and a bountiful supply of food.