With a rich and diverse marine ecosystem untouched by tourism, divers aboard a Myanmar liveaboard will feel a great sense of privilege to witness the awesome sights of a region that has largely been unexplored.
Myanmar liveaboards are not yet well known, but this could change over the coming years as divers discover what this untouched area has to offer. Located in Southeast Asia bordered by Thailand, India, Bangladesh, China and Laos, Myanmar (also named Burma) is populated by 51 million people and it's 1930km (1200m) uninterrupted coastline stretching along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea is starting to emerge new diving sites. Myanmar's capital city is Naypyidaw and its largest city is Yangon (Rangoon).
With it's history of previously being closed to foreigners, you can imagine what this alluring country now has to offer! This region has been preserved. Which means stunning nature and an incredible underwaterworld. Myanmar liveaboard trips help to continue opening up this amazing area to the outside world and more travellers are venturing here. Some amazing dive adventures can be found here, having just opened to the greater public, this is a conserved mystical area of the world. Myanmar is undergoing a rapid transition, don't wait to long for visiting this still authentic country, not overwhelmed yet by western civilisation. Guarantee a fantastic and comprehensive visit to a diverse and fascinating region.
4 liveaboards in Myanmar
The Thai Sea liveaboards was refurbished in November 2014 & operates diving trips to the Similan Islands and Burma, catering to a maximum 12 guests. With 6 fan-cooled cabins & shared bathrooms.
Giamani caters to only 10 divers to assure personal service and maximum space on board. Explore the Andaman Sea and visit the Similans & Richelieu Rock, as well as the remote Mergui Archipelago
The spacious & comfortable Miss Moon offers diving & snorkeling from November - April to the best dive sites in Thailand & Burma. She delivers personal service only catering to a maximum of 10 guestsMiss Moon
Liveaboard Dive Trips In Myanmar
The remote southern part of Burma is home to some beautiful white-sand beaches: The Mergui Archipelago. The area receives very few visitors and the islands are largely inaccessible unless you take to the seas and explore the area by liveaboard. You'll cruise hundreds of unexplored islands and dive undisturbed at uncrowded sites, completely opposite to the tourist masses of neighbouring Thailand. Many trips which visit the Mergui Archipelago take in both the Similan Islands and the south of Burma. Liveaboards visit the Burma Banks and some of the top of the archipelago, such as Black Rock and Shark Cave. The dive sites in Myanmar tend to feature wall diving, cave(rn)s, tunnels and drop-offs.
Dive cruises run for between 4 to 7 nights in duration. The distances involved in these expeditions can make these trips more expensive than those in Thailand. Some of the sites are quite deep and the region is remote. Scuba divers are expected to be relatively experienced.
Dive Sites & Areas of Myanmar
With more than 50 dive sites, Myanmar diving is great value for money. Currents can be strong and surface conditions can be rough but allows the intermediate-advanced diver to encounter large and small animals. It's also great for (practicing some) underwater photography. Depth of the divesites is 5-40+ metres with a visibility 5-50 metres and water temperature 25-28C.
Burma Banks is a series of large underwater flat-topped sea-mounts, rising gradually from the depths, covered with hard coral growth and large patches of sand. The huge plate corals are in many areas fantastic, but the reason to dive here is for different types of environments not found in Thailand or in the Mergui Archipelago proper.
Black Rock, many divers' favourite spot in the Mergui Archipelago. An 80 metre wide islet, stands in a northwest to southeast position with steep banks all around. And a wall on its west and south west sides will have your your heart pounding from spectacular passes of whitetips, silvertips, and black-tip sharks.
Western Rocky offers some of the best cavern and wall diving you can imagine. Western Rocky itself is just about 60 metres wide with 2 smaller islets to the east. Dive cruises in Myanmar offer spectacular diving here.
When To Go
Myanmar has a tropical climate and liveaboard diving season is October to May, with the best conditions in the Mergui Archipelago from December to April, when the seas are at their calmest and visibility highest. Sea temperatures vary from 26C in October to 30C by February. February to May sees the greatest number of visits from whale sharks and for manta rays is February to May a good time to go diving.
Tips For Travellers
Myanmar is more conservative than nearby countries. Many people still wear traditional dress - the longyi for men, the htamein for women, both sarong-like garments. You rarely see anyone expose their knees or shoulders, and you will make everyone more comfortable if you adjust.
Though people are more open than in the past when discussing politics, some guardedness remains; don't talk politics.
Money is handed over and received with the right hand, while the left hand loosely supports the right arm.
Tipping is not part of local culture and not expected.
Never use your feet to point at a person or thing.
A smile always goes a long way, as does knowing a few words in Burmese.
We recommend you consider insurance to cover health, diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation.
ATMs that accept international cards have started appearing throughout Myanmar. You can find ATMs even in relatively remote destinations. KBZ and CB Bank have the most reliable ATMs - they accept both Visa and Mastercard, and charge a fee of 5000 kyat (around US$4) per transaction. It's now also possible to receive international cash transfers via Western Union.
Myanmar is trying to encourage both locals and visitors to use the local currency - kyat - rather than US dollars, which was the preferred currency until 2012. As of the end of November 2015, only banks and official moneychangers are able to change dollars. It's worth bringing some US dollars with you, preferably in smaller notes, as they can be useful if you're stranded without access to an ATM. Make sure your US bills are immaculate and printed no earlier than 2006, or you may not be able to exchange them. It's also easy to change Thai baht in Yangon and Mandalay.
It's easy and cheap to buy a SIM card in Yangon and Mandalay. Online access has improved, and the internet is now spreading to more remote locations. Power outages and tightly squeezed bandwidth are a good excuse to just go diving instead of making use of internet a frustrating exercise.
Check your government's advice on conflicts prior to travel, and ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar.
There is only 1 national time zone in Myanmar: +6.5 hrs GMT, or +11.5 hrs EST.
Electricity is 230 volts AC at 50 cycles. Several different plugs and sockets are in use, so bring your own plug adapter kits. There are frequent blackouts and power variations, especially during rainy season. The Burma liveaboards normally have flat or round 2 pin electrical sockets.
How To Get There & Ports Of Departure
Thailand will usually be your starting point for your liveaboard trip to Myanamar, departing from Ranong.
Bangkok Airways operate direct flight from Bangkok to Ranong, on the Thai side of the Myanmar border. Then you can take a taxi from Ranong Airport to the port of departure.
Yangon International Airport is the main hub for domestic flights. Local airlines include Air Bagan and Myanmar National Airlines. It's cheaper and easier to book domestic flights via agencies once you are in Myanmar. There are no international car-rental agencies, most travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan - as well as guesthouses and hotels elsewhere - can arrange cars and drivers.
Myanmar is no longer the cheap destination it once was, make sure you adjust your budget accordingly. In particular, prices for even basic accommodation have risen dramatically but generally offer better value than prices in the West.
Liveaboard prices range from 120-200 euros per person/night. Excluding National Park Fees: THB 1600 per diver, Government fees Myanmar: between USD 170 and 250, dive gear rental, Nitrox, Alcoholic drinks and cigarettes. Minimum certification level is Open Water Diver, with no minimum dives recommended.
You don't need to apply for a tourist visa beforehand when visiting Burma on a liveaboard safari from Thailand. Please note: to obtain an entry permit to visit Mergui (which includes a 30 day visa) takes at least 10-14 days.
You should contact a local embassy for details http://www.myanmarembassy.com/english/visa.htm
Myanmar Diving Reviews
Overall it was a very nice experience, but too many fishing boats around the diving areasDiving Myanmar in March on the Miss Moon
Good trip. Looking for a repeat oneDiving Myanmar in January on the Miss Moon
Very good. The dive sites nearer to land had plankton in the water, so the visibility was not great.Diving Myanmar in January on the Miss Moon
Unfortunately the visibility was very low. But there was plenty of corals and small fish and general sea life!Diving Myanmar in January on the Dolphin Queen
sure not crowdy ... goooood !Diving Myanmar in November on the Miss Moon
nice dive spots, probably lots of dependency on visibility and the presence of big animalsDiving Myanmar in November on the Miss Moon
Amazing, very nice people, and really peaceful nature. Almost seen no other boats. But there's too much fishing going on there!Diving Myanmar in February on the Miss Moon
We saw amazing dive sites in remote places with a great diversity in marine life, nice cave formations, gigantic fan coral gardens and exotic small life. Two things we were unlucky with on our trip: visibility and big fish.Diving Myanmar in April on the Miss Moon
Great experienceDiving Myanmar in March on the Miss Moon
Wonderful experience diving at sites that feel untouched or unexplored.Diving Myanmar in February on the Miss Moon
no big pelagic species, no strong current, interresting caves, not the biggest variey in speciesDiving Myanmar in January on the Miss Moon
Very good, but the dynamite Fishing hast to be stopped.Diving Myanmar in January on the Miss Moon
Good. We were a bit too early in the season to see everything that we wanted to see but overall the experience was positive. Would I recommend the Miss Moon boat? yes but perhaps later in the dive season when you have a better chance to see all the pelegics.Diving Myanmar in November on the Miss Moon
I quite enjoyed the Myanmar diving and the beauty of all the islands.Diving Myanmar in November on the Miss Moon