|Asterism Travels & Tours - Myanmar||Southern Myanmar - Thaninthayi division|
States and divisions - Thaninthayi
The leg on the country map sandwished between Thailand on the east and Andaman sea on the west is home to sea traders, miners, fishers, farmers, rubber planters of diversed ethnic origins. There are Thais, Bamars, Mons, Kayins, sea Gypsies and Salons, just to name a few. On the coastal strip on the west are rice fields, and farms growing maize, suger cane, ground nut, chillies, onions, rubber and palm trees, durian, mangosteen, rambutan, and so on.
The land is mountainous on the eastern border with Thailand. Indeed much of this hill ranges do not possess any good roads. There are a couple of border check points with Thailand, which are only for the local people. On the western shore with Andaman sea there are many beaches still unknown to outsiders, bays, rocks, cliffs, fishing and trade ports and hundreds of islands.
Southern Myanmar has longer rainy season, and shorter dry months compared to the rest of the country. The weather pattern here is similar to that of southern Thailand. It receives rain for almost 9 or 10 months with dry period from December to April.
Tourism and transport
The motor road and rail road connect Mawlamyaing (Mon state) with places as far south as Dawe, but it is considered not safe and foreigners are thus not allowed to take the land route. Other options are by flight and boat.
However boat travel from Yangon or Mawlamyaing to Dawei, Myeik or Kaw Thaung are inconvenient as there is no reliable schedule of boats run by Myanmar Five Star Lines. The tickets can only be purchased by short notice. No advance booking is possible at the moment (up until 2004).
There are however speed ferry shuttle boat service between Kaw Thaung, Myeik and Dawei, which runs three or four times per week. Kaw Thaung to Myeik takes about half day, and to Dawei is nearly full day. Please check with local people when you arrive Kaw Thaung.
There are a few diving operators based in Phuket, which obtained licences from Myanmar government to arrange diving trips to the Myeik archipelago. A couple of companies based in Myanmar also offer similar services.
Kaw Thoung, the southern-most town, is where the border check point with Thailand is. Foreign travellers can enter Kaw Thaung with border pass for up to 3 days, paying US$ 5 per head. It allows you to travel around Kaw Thaung and up to about 20km to the north where there is a waterfall.
From Ranong (Thailand side) take a boat to the Myanmar immigration on a small island (20 minutes), pay the fee and get the pass. Then another 5 minutes boat ride will take you to Kaw Thaung or Victroria point as it was called in the British time. Chances are you can find a boat that can take you around to the sea to visit the islands.
If you have valid Myanmar visa you can proceed to travel to Mawlamyaing, Yangon, etc. Basic acommodations are available in Kaw Thaung, Myeik and Dawei. Telephone calls are difficult. So let a travel agent in Myanmar arrange for you, or do it yourselves when you arrive there.