One of the least known parts but very beautiful area of Myanmar is Mergui Archipelago, which is previously named Mergui Archipelago. Myeik once belonged to the Thais and was the principal seaport for the Thai Ayuthaya Kingdom, just across the mountains. It was called Mergui during the olden days and the name Mergui was given by the British to the southernmost part of Myanmar.
- Location: in the southernmost part Myanmar
- Population: 226,174 (2013 statistics)
- Area: 20,157.9 square km (Myeik District)
- Name variant: Mergui
- A gateway to the Mergui Archipelago’s 800 offshore islands with well preserved natural beauty
In the 18th century the area was of major importance for trade between Eastern and Western civilizations, with the port of Mergui a significant access point bridging the Andaman and South China seas. The archipelago fell into obscurity after World War II and the changes that took place in Myanmar, known as Burma until 1989. It has had very little human interaction for more than 50 years. These islands were once used as the place for banishing political prisoners. Therefore, in that past, it was required to have a sort of “government minder” on boat. Permission was finally granted in 1997 and a few boats began to run trips to these largely unexplored islands and reefs.
Mergui comprises over 800 attractive islands. There was a small indigenous population of sea gypsies but in general most of the islands composing the archipelago are uninhabited. In addition, you will be hard pressed to see another foreigner there during the entire length of your trip. Such feature of free tourists gives people who travel there the complete privacy and relaxation for the holiday.
Once coming to Mergui, you will never forget the unspoiled terrestrial scenery of this place. Dense brush and rainforest cover most areas above the high-tide line, while vast stretches of mangroves and magnificent white-sand beaches are interspersed with rocky headlands, tidal creeks and a few freshwater rivers. Not only has the overview but also underwater offered a splendid beauty with scenic reefs, fascinating topography and prolific fish and invertebrate life. One of the main attractions for divers is the strong possibility of seeing big animals, especially sharks and rays. More dependable, however, is the tremendous variety of smaller fish and reef creatures, including many unusual species There are very few places in the world that are this beautiful, this pristine, and so free of tourists.
Especially, if you visit this place in February, you will have chance to experience Salone Festival, which is aimed to promote the salone people way of life and of Mergui Archipelago a tourist destination, as well as to operate marine eco-tourism around the islands in Archipelago.