Myanmar Myeik PhotosBurma Myeik Photos
High-Definition photos + reviews of hotels in Myeik, Myanmar
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Everything in the Myeik Archipelago in the south of Myanmar charted
Years ago, when I was looking at the chart, my attention was repeatedly directed to the Andaman Sea's hot blues and a sprinkling of isles that my chart called the Myeik-Archipel ("Myeik Archipelago", also known under the ancient name of the Mergui Archipelago). Part of Myanmar, the 800 or so small island and isles of this island have always fascinated me.
Little genuine information was available about them, although I could find enough shred to find out that the isles were mainly the home of the Moken (also known as the Salone) seagypsies who live a rather jealous existence, at least on the papers, as they are sailing with the tide, current and wind from bottom to bottom, insular ity to insularity - although the realities are probably very different.
Many of the islands - some are vast, some are just tropics - have hardly been researched by the outside world, and I have been told that they are home to some of the most stunning dive sites and shores in Southeast Asia.
Myanmar, at the moment I conducted my initial research on the archipelago, was still rotten under the fists of a decades-old macabre army regime, and by and large the Myeik Isles were banned to aliens (except for those on one of the dive vessels that operated from Thailand and those visiting a small islet near the continent, which was ruled by a vast gambling centre and gulf course - of all places).
With a new administration and less airborne petty rage and anxiety, Myanmar began to open its door to the Myeik Archipelago (and much of the remainder of the southern hemisphere) in 2013. I had the chance to realize my long-cherished ambitions to come to these beautiful isles.
I' m travelling overland, slow, along the Yangon to Meik. Surrounding the small city of Hpa-An I discover lime stone caverns full of Buddha pictures and sculptures; in Mawlamyine I walk in the tracks of Gipling, walking up the hill above the city to, in his words, "look lazily at the old Moulmein pagoda and the sea".
Continuing southwards, on a net -like street winding in and out of the mountains, past the small lake-side city of Ye until I reach Dawei, where I stop for a few nights to explore the southern part of the city, rumours say there are shores on a par with those I am hoping to find in the Myeik archipelago.
I' m renting a small motorcycle in Dawei, and without really knowing where I'm going, I'm zigzagging along powdery country lanes. Though the Dawei area is delightful, it's certainly good to head southwards to see if my final destination, the Myeik Islands, meets my requirements. The city of Myeik lies between a canal with islands and a bustling harbour on one side and a precipitous mound with a gold buddhistic Stupa on the other.
It' s like the whole city is taking a breath to try to blend into this small space between the sea and the hills. The damp hot of the morning crowds the roads with humming, screaming motorbikes and automobiles, but in the early evenings the main roads are occupied by a nocturnal grocery store, and the city is sizzling with roasting, sizzling and grilled shellfish, glutinous sweets, cooked poultry legs, small marbled, hard-boiled Quail Egg, the unappetizing insides of cattle and much more.
Remarkable as the dinner is, I'm here for the isles. And I don't need much to find a sail. Since the area was only recently opened to the public, I thought I could devote a great deal of my free moment on the wharf to tell the guides that I wanted to wiggle back and forth between the island for a whole days or so.
I am not the first to have such thoughts and the skippers are so used to the fact that there are now organized boats trips every day to a multitude of different isles, which are announced by every city' s hotels and tourist agencies. So I spend a few lucky moments snorkeling with parrotfish, cruising between wooded isles and having lunch with shellfish in small lakeshores.
Myeik, on the other hand, is meeting our expectation.