Burmese waters have opened recently to tourism, in 1997. With over 800 islands sprinkled throughout 12,000 square kilometres of crystaline waters, the possibilities are endless.
Burma Mergui Archipelago offers a unique combination of breathtaking tropical islands with white-sand beaches, interesting topography, and little tourists. You’ll have the best chances to spend a wonderful time!
Finally, think of extending your stay to explore Burma on land. From South to North, we have selected five experiences you can do after your liveaboard trip.
At the moment, divers can only explore the South part of the country, called “Mergui Archipelago” and dive sites can only be reached with a liveaboard. Often with currents, the dive sites are suitable for advanced and experienced divers. The closest sites will offer you good macro, while further away spots will bring more pelagic life. All the liveaboards start on the Thai side, at Ranong city, located only a few kilometers away from the frontier with Burma.
Mergui Archipelago: November to April, water temperature between 25 to 28°C (77 to 82°F)
Best Dives Sites in Mergui Archipelago
Western Rocky: a favorite of many divers, Western Rocky is a small island, at the heart of which you can swim through. The wide tunnel is lit by daylight all the way through.
Black Rock: Black Rock is accessible with liveaboards going the further away. With a wall dropping to over 100 meters depth (300 feet) and clear waters, the conditions are perfect to spot there pelagic life. Barracudas, tunas, rays and reef sharks are often spotted there.
Seafan forest: plenty of large seafans cover a pinnacle rising from 50 meters (165 feet) depth up to 8 meters (26 feet). You’ll spot Leopard sharks and sometimes even whalesharks.
Shark cave: a great spot to see nurse sharks, sting rays, tons of crustaceans such as Durban dancing shrimps or mantis shrimps and moray eels, cowries and sea slugs.
We always recommend to have your own dive gear, well maintained, you’ll be safer and more comfortable. Light and compact dive gear is particularly suited for travels. For safety reasons, always bring with you a surface marker buoy, and know how to use it. We also recommend you to have a Nautilus Lifeline, a GPS that could save your life if taken by currents. They can be really strong in some areas of the Mergui Archipelago.
Visit Shwedagon Pagoda at Sunset and Get a Drink in a Rooftop Bar Afterwards
Start with visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset (don’t forget to cover knees and shoulders), the most famous landmark of the city. The sundown reflects on the golden pagoda and every angle brings a new perspective. After your visit, why not stop at one of Yangoon few roof-top bars and enjoy the end of the evening with views of the city. Atlas Rooftop Bar and Lounge has fantatsic views over the pagoda.
Watch the Sunrise in Bagan over 10,000 Temples
It’s wise to spend at least 3 full days to explore Bagan area. Rent a bycicle and start early in the morning. Both sunrises and sunsets are spectacular, however there are far less touriss during sunrises. It provides a unique atmosphere of being privileged to witness such beauty. Start with setting up your alarm early, 5am, grab your bycicle (don’t forget your torch) and ask the locals to show you which temple is the best to watch sunrise from. You will probably end up in a less tourist one with a better view.
Sleep on the Water at Inle Lake
Finish your trip with a few days relaxing at Inle Lake. During the day, see the unique technique of fishing of the locals, try to visit a local market and other small temples on the hills. If you can, try to sleep on the lake itself it has a unique chill atmosphere.
How to go to Ranong in Thailand to embark on your liveaboard
Plane is the fastest way to reach Ranong, with just an hour and a half from Bangkok. Air Asia or NOK Air fly there. You can also catch a train from Bangkok to Chumpon, and then a 3 hours bus ride. Finally, you can also reach Ranong by bus from Bangkok (9 hours), Suratthani, Chumphon or Phuket.
Extending your stay in Burma
After your diving trip, you can pursue your trip by land, stopping on the burmese side off the frontier with Thaiand. Another option is to fly from Bangkok to Burma. In both cases, you will need another visa - you should apply for it before the start of your trip. Remember to always bring along clean unfolded US Dollar bills for your trip.