Tavoy MyanmarMyanmar Tavoy
Looking back on Dawei
I needed 36 hrs and three planes to get to Dawei. Though it is only about 1200 nautical mile away from Kathmandu, the best and most convenient link led me from Nepal to Doha, Qatar; to Yangon and then to Dawei, the gate to the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar. In Southeast Asia, sometimes travelling from one place to another is an excercise in "You can't get there from here!
" It' simpler to get from San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York to Dawei. This long voyage gave me the opportunity to reflect on how far Dawei had come from a ninth centuries town to become Myanmar's first special zone (SEZ). The aim of my visit to Dawei and other cities on the Mergui Peninsula was to explore possible new journeys to Myanmar.
I' m in Iove with Dawei. Just recently, streets and railroads have arrived in Dawei, and few westerly travellers dare to this south-eastern Myanmar promontory, which borders Thailand to the west. The majority of Myanmar's trips are concentrated on some of the 2000 sites and monasteries far northern of Dawei. However, this 4th biggest Asian land with its warmer, friendlier inhabitants has much more to boast than these old chests, and Dawei is just one of many magic places.
Davei was not always a backlog. By the eleventh-century this area had already developed along the Tenasserim coastline of Myanmar from a small hamlet at the mouth of the Dawei River into a busy seaport and home to several fishing communities, among them the Mon, Kayin and Dawei. Whenever Thailand marched into Myanmar, the Thais had to travel through Dawei and conquer the city on their way.
Then when Myanmar invaded Thailand, the Burmese crossed the kingdom of Dawei and again invaded it. Eventually the city returned to Burma until the British took power in 1826. You called the city Tavoy and some still call it that. In 1974, after Thailand occupied part of the Tenasserim coastline, Dawei became the capital of the Dawei district of the Tanintharyi Division of Myanmar.
Of course, the historic tug-of-war between Siam, Burma (now Myanmar) and the British, as well as the impact of other ethnical groups, has produced a captivating interaction of culturality. I' ve seen signs of all these factors in the craft, in the cuisine and in the personalities of the Daweiians.
Burma was at one point the biggest, wealthiest and most powerfull land in Southeast Asia, and Dawei was a meeting place for merchants and fishers, albeit a largely underdeveloped one. Today it is known as a "sleepy" or "relaxed" city. I can see how the visitor could get this feeling with its timber and plastered cottages in rural styles, beautiful sandy shores, courteous crowds and the lack of jam.
It is astonishingly clear and the inhabitants are very proud of it. It has about 90,000 inhabitants, 100 convents, 7 congregations (the first Baptist convert in Myanmar took place here) and 4 mausoleums. The archipelago of Dawei and the Mergui archipelago of over 800 islets has one fabulous sandy spot after another.
Davei is tropic and has a tropic moonsclimate. Temperatures are fairly stable, but the area is one of the humidest in Myanmar during the months of May to October. From November to March is the best period for a trip and a great place for a vacation. That reduces the incomes of Dawei peasants and pushes many out of the shop.
Burma is known for its handicrafts, many of which have reached the level of fine arts and are held in high esteem by private people. Dawei is known for the production of brooms, potteries and fabrics, especially the elaborately designed Longyi, which are worn like a long coat. The Dawei has his part.
The Shin Moe Thi is the oldest one. Are you considering travelling in Dawei?