Mergui is named under the British colonial time and it now used interchangeably with the Burmese word, Myeik.
The Myeik Archipelago, located in the southern part of Myanmar, consisting of more than 800 islands. They vary in size from the very small with just a few palm trees to hundreds of square kilometers. The Archipelago is well-known for the beautiful underwater life and scene as well as the diversity of flora & fauna. It offers a wide ranges of chances on exploration and diving amongst spectacular marine life and untouched coral reefs.
The best time to visit Myeik is from November to April, with the most comfortable conditions of warm and sunny weather, steady winds, and calm seas. Especially, in March and April there is less wind and higher temperatures, which is ideal for diving and snorkeling.
Hereby is some highlight islands of the Archipelago:
- Lampi Island: it is the first marine national park of Myanmar in 1995. The site is noted for its biodiversity, mangroves and coral reefs.
- Phi Lar island. Also known as the Great Swinton, the island has the beautiful white sand, palm-fringed beaches… Especially the colourful coral reefs make it perfect for snorkeling.
- The Burma Banks. One of the most renowned dive sites in Southeast Asia. They are located on the west side of the archipelago, where the continental shelf drops off into the deep sea beyond.
Not just the scenery the human life in Myeik Archipelago is also worth a visit. The only human inhabited areas are sea gypsies. The Salone, also known as Moken are one of the most distinct ethnic groups in Myanmar with the sea-based life. During the dry season, they live on boats and during the rainy season they stay on land. Over hundreds of years, the locals are masters of free diving – they can to see things clearly under the water and hold the breath far longer than most humans can. For generations and up to now, the techniques of fishing and boat building are still remained.