Myanmar is often typecast as the land of temples, where the peaks of Pagoda's silhouette against sunsets in Bagan, and the shimmering gilded stupa of the Shwedagon Pagoda attracts camera toting tourists and saffron robed monks in equal measure. But what if we told you that the country is also blessed with some of the most pristine beaches in Southeast Asia, lined with palm trees, and backed by tropical jungle?
The Mergui, or Myeik, Archipelago in Southern Myanmar is blessed with gin clear waters, vibrant coral reefs and, despite a history of dynamite fishing in the region, returning shoals of tropical reef fish. Add to this unspoilt beaches, lush rainforest and traditional Moken fishing villages, and Mergui demands a good few days' exploration.
What was until recently one of Myanmar's best kept secrets, the Mergui archipelago is slowly catching up with the rest of the country in terms of accessibility, having been closed to tourists since the 40's. The best way to explore is without doubt by water - booked on to a cruise on a luxurious sailing vessel (or chartering a sailing boat for a private sail) - get there before the investors do.
|Mergui (Myeik) Archipelago|