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Liveaboard Diving in Mergui Archipelago
What to Expect On a Mergui Archipelago Liveaboard
Liveaboard diving Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago will take divers to a previously unexplored area for diving. It is part of the Tanintharyi Region and consists of more than 800 islands lying in the Andaman Sea in far southern Myanmar and off the western shore of the Malay Peninsula. Because Malay inhabitants are locally called Pashu, these islands are referred to as the Pashu Islands.
Myanmar liveaboard diving offers great opportunities for exploration and dive cruises amongst untouched coral reefs and spectacular marine life, with yachts and cruise boats, designed for that purpose. You can see yourself sailing, relaxing, and diving around these islands?
Not just the unspoiled under and over water scenery makes the archipelago such a fascinating place to visit. Booking a Mergui Archipelago dive liveaboard tour makes you meet the Moken people. Also known as sea gypsies or Salone. This ethnic minority is one of the most distinct of Myanmar's many ethnic groups. These nomadic, sea-dwelling people follow a traditional way of life, doing things such as fishing and building boats very much the way they have done for centuries sea-based life here. Having adapted themselves to the water over many hundreds of years, they are the masters of freediving, able to focus their vision underwater and hold their breath for longer than most humans can. They can be found living on their traditional boats during the dry season and keep to land in the rainy season. They claim that the islands were detached from the mainland after a great mythological flood.
In 1997 the area opened up to foreign tourism, after negotiations between Myanmar and liveaboard dive operators from Phuket in Thailand. The secret of this place as a great dive destination won't be secret for long, so we advise you to set sail for some Myanmar - Burma diving safari adventures as soon as possible. The Burma or Myanmar Mergui Archipelago is a true divers paradise. Compared to its neighbor, Thailand, the Mergui dive sites are deserted and you are unlikely to see another dive boat on your dive trip. In fact, you are unlikely to see much of anyone than probably a local sea gypsy.
Mergui Archipelago Underwater
The archipelago's isolation is such that much of it has not even yet been thoroughly explored. The months to visit Burma and enjoy the best diving conditions are from October to May. If you like to meet up with whale sharks and manta rays, they visit the Archipelago waters from February to May.
Are you up for visiting a real shark haven? Around nine species of sharks have been reportedly seen in the waters of Myanmar. Which includes Nurse, Hammerhead, Bull, Tiger, Grey Reef, and the most highly-anticipated: the Spinner Shark. Of course, you can also spot Silvertip and Whitetip Sharks in Burma next to eagle and manta rays. Lucky divers also get to see squadrons of Mobula Rays.
Every diver knows the smaller things are hard to ignore. The Mergui Archipelago's diversity below the sea surface, showcase an incredible variety of marine life. Not only sharks will amaze you. How about shrimps, crabs, and lobsters in every shape, color, and size. Possibly joined by frogfish, cuttlefish, ghost pipefish, and octopuses, all having a great time dwelling in the unsurpassed aquatic environment found in Burma! Find some Frogfish, Ribbon Eels, and False Pipefish, just to name a few.
Each dive offers the chance for new discoveries and many like the quality of macro critters to what's found in Indonesia.
As with these divers paradise islands you can imagine there are dozens of fascinating and exciting sites. Liveaboard diving Mergui Archipelago is the best, and if you ask me only, way to discover this unspoiled piece of the world. I only listed a select few of the diving highlights.
Dive Sites Of Mergui Archipelago
One of the most renowned dive sites in Southeast Asia is the huge Burma Banks including Silvertip, Rainbow, Roe, Coral, and Heckford banks). These dive sites are located on the west side of the archipelago, where the continental shelf drops off into the deep sea beyond. The open ocean diving here makes for experienced divers a thrilling and diverse opportunity and sightings of sharks are virtually guaranteed.
100 miles northwest of Kwathaung is Black Rock, a firm favorite of many divers who visit the archipelago the liveaboard boats in Myanmar offer: its steep rock cliffs act as a magnet for an abundance of marine life. Most notably Silvertip, Whitetip, and Blacktip sharks as well as Manta and Stingrays.
Maybe one of these dive cruises' most exciting dive sites is Western Rocky. The island itself is a small island and has a diveable passage right through its heart that just manages to be lit by daylight all the way through. liveaboard boats in Burma get you diving here close to three-meter nurse sharks and there are good chances of seeing other shark species. Including the biggest of them all: the whale shark. Also, bowmouth guitarfish, harlequin shrimp, frogfish, and sea horse, while the anemone-lined cavity is full of oversized lobsters and crabs. The four islets offshore are worth a dive on their own, their walls blanketed with clams and colorful sponges, and busy with big reef squid and chevron barracuda. When you plan your itinerary, definitely enjoy a spectacular night dive on the south wall where the red and orange coral will lit by the moonlight.
Top Tips For Divers
Are you looking for a destination that offers world-class diving? The reverberating waters and liveaboard boats in Myanmar might be the ideal choice. Here, you can feel like you are in another world about to discover the stacks of adventure-bound liveaboard experience, only stunning Myanmar can offer.
The main reason why I encourage intermediate to advance scuba divers more to visit the place than the newbies is that dive sites tend to have strong currents and surface conditions can be rough. Visibility can reach up to 50 meters and you'll dive and explore the Andaman waters of the Mergui Archipelago in a water temperature of 25 - 28C. Excellent scuba diving conditions!
Liveaboards to Burma (Myanmar) usually depart from Ranong in Thailand and the liveaboard operator will take care of all the Burma entry requirements for you.
Some liveaboard trips focus purely on Burma but also may include the best Thailand dive sites of Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai and Koh Bon in their itineraries.
Myanmar is trying to encourage both locals and tourists to use the local currency - kyat. Which was the preferred currency till 2012. Bring some US dollars, preferably in smaller notes.
Getting To Myanmar
Especially for us, divers are the best way to get to Myanmar (Burma) is on a liveaboard trip. Bangkok Airways operate direct flight from Bangkok to Ranong, which has a port on the Thai side of the Myanmar border. This is the nearest departure port/location. You can take a taxi from Ranong Airport to the port of departure. Your starting point for your luxury liveaboard safari of a lifetime.
Unless you fly, all travel in Myanmar takes time (it's a nine-hour bus trip from Yangon to Mandalay). Buses, although bumpy rides are almost always faster than the trains. Boats are also an option for some routes; the Mandalay-Bagan service is popular among travelers.
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.
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