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Adventure Cruises in Mergui Archipelago
Mergui Archipelago cruises transport you back in time to an era of lonely tropical seas, deserted white sand beaches, self-sufficient hunter-gatherer cultures, and lush jungles full of exotic animals. Cruises to the Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar (Burma) are the best way to discover this paradise of 800 islands in the Andaman Sea (the northeastern corner of the great Indian Ocean).
The Mergui Archipelago first opened to foreigners in the 1980s, so it’s one of the last locations on Earth with natural and cultural wonders still unmarred by industry or mass tourism. The Moken people, or “Sea-Gypsies” are the main residents of the archipelago, and witnessing their unique traditions really makes Mergui Archipelago cruises a life-changing experience.
Top things to do and see on a Mergui Archipelago Cruise
Lampi National Park - No Mergui Archipelago cruise is complete without Lampi Island; Lampi and its satellite islands are a national park which protects over a thousand species of rare organisms within its tropical evergreen forests, mangroves, dunes, beaches, and marine waters. One highlight of cruising Lampi is the chance to kayak through old-growth mangrove forests. On offshore Tar Yar island, Myanmar cruises let you plunge into impossibly clear water, and on Ko Phawt more mangroves await, along with Hornbill birds and a secluded Moken village.
Boulder Island - Mergui Archipelago boat cruises may spend up to two days at this incredible location. On Boulder Island, five stunning beaches vie for your attention, with long offshore reefs perfect for snorkelling. The interior beckons with multiple hiking trails, one of which takes you up to Eagle Rock, a breathtaking panorama overlooking the island and adjacent waters. Boat-lovers should grab this perfect opportunity to kayak and paddle-board.
Nyaung Wee Island (Buda Island) - South of the Lampi area, small Nyaung Wee Island charms Mergui Archipelago visitors with a friendly Moken village where you can imagine how it would feel to live in a hunter-gatherer society. Moken people often inhabit stilt houses over the water, and some are so accustomed to swimming in the ocean that they develop a protective layer over their eyes that allows them to see better underwater. On Nyaung Wee, hang out with local kids or take some scenic hikes into the bush.
Great Swinton Island - Mergui expedition cruises often stop at Great Swinton Island to fill up on fresh water from a local waterfall, allowing you to visit one of the longest, most beautiful beaches in the Mergui Archipelago. Besides the beach, sights include a Buddhist monastery which was built to protect the villagers from relocation, and the village pool table, where you’re welcome to try your luck against the local kids.
Jar Lann Kyun (Lord Loughborough) Island - Cruises around Mergui Archipelago visit Lord Loughborough Island for another opportunity to see a Moken village set against the backdrop of lush, green jungle. The local settlement here is often busy with fisherfolk working on their boats, which is interesting to observe. There’s a dramatic fjord where your cruise may anchor; listen for the Hornbills in the mangroves nearby.
Activities in the Mergui Archipelago - Mergui Archipelago cruises offer a perfect mix of relaxation and invigoration. If you want to keep your body moving, you can hike jungle and beach trails, paddle-board, kayak, snorkel, and visit local villages. If you want to chill out, you can lie on a deserted beach, swing away the day in a hammock, or doze in a deck chair, and at night, make sure to look skyward for some of the best star-gazing you’ll ever experience.
Photographers take note: Some Mergui Archipelago cruises offer specialized photography expeditions wherein you’ll enjoy the tutelage of a professional guide as you seek incredible shots of Mergui’s local landscapes, plants, animals, and people.
Mergui Mammals - The jungles of the Mergui Archipelago brim with charismatic wildlife. Monkeys like Gibbons are one visitor-favourite. Even more gorgeous, though, is the Dusky Langur monkey with its soft grey fur and elegantly white-rimmed eyes. Dugongs (the Indopacific cousin of the Caribbean manatee) still live in Myanmar’s waters- swimming with these gentle giants is increasingly rare in other countries, where their habitat is destroyed. Critically endangered pangolins (scaly anteaters) still thrive in Mergui. There are even local otter and deer species!
Mergui Birdlife - The tropical birds you see while small ship cruising around Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago are as wildly colourful and strangely shaped as you can imagine. Enjoy large flocks of Plain-Pouched Hornbill, multiple ocean-going eagle species, the unique Crested Partridge with its red head-plume, colourful kingfishers and flittering sunbirds (the local name for hummingbirds).
Top Tips for visiting the Mergui Archipelago on a cruise
- Water-friendly walking shoes are great for Mergui’s mixed jungle and beach terrain.,/li>
- Bring a long-sleeved rash vest (swimming shirt) and some knee-length swim shorts so you can enjoy snorkelling without sunscreen (it contains chemicals considered deadly to corals).
- Taking a light windbreaker will keep you warm when the sun goes down, and some natural insect repellant is recommended for jungle treks.
Best time to cruise the Mergui Archipelago
The best time to take Mergui Archipelago cruises is between November and April. If you want a non-motorized experience, sailing the Mergui Archipelago is best from December to February, when there are steady winds. Mergui Archipelago cruises in March and April are the best for snorkelling.
Where do Mergui Archipelago cruises depart from?
Myanmar adventure cruises to the Mergui Archipelago depart from the city of Kawthaung. Your operator will likely arrange a transfer for you from the Kawthaung airport or port to your ship. Some cruise operators meet you in Rangon, a Thai city just across the river from Kawthaung. From Rangon, it’s only a ten minute boat-ride to Kawthaung.
You can fly to Kawthaung from the Myanmar capital Yangon (one-stop) or Dawe (direct). If you’re entering Myanmar via Rangon, you can fly from Bangkok to Rangon or take a scenic bus ride from Phuket. For international flights to this part of Southeast Asia, Rangon and Bangkok are the best options, with plenty of airlines arriving from all over the world.
Please contact our reservations team to book your next adventure cruise to the Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar.