After hundreds of dives in the Mergui Archipelago off the southwestern coast of Burma, we are still enthralled. The remoteness of the islands, the pristine seascape and the abundant marine life that thrives in this region still holds for us the promise of new discovery.
Reachable mainly by live-aboard or sailboat, the isolated islands and dive-sites are never crowded with other boats, perhaps only the occasional Moken sea-gypsy longtail in the distance. A visit to the Mergui Archipelago remains a true sea expedition.
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The Mergui Archipelago (not to be confused with the Burma Banks), comprised of over 800 individual islands, was opened by the Myanmar government to foreign visitors in 1997. Since then, however, it has remained untouched and largely undiscovered. Visitors are free to explore at will, seek potentially new dive-sites and wander uninhabited islands bordered by white sand beaches and dense mangrove swamps.
Unlike the Similan and Surin islands to the south, the sea terrain of the Mergui Archipelago is characterized mainly by limestone rock formations. Expansive and intricate dive-sites and excellent visibility ensure adventurous diving. Rare marine species may be sighted, large pelagics are frequent, and colorful hard and soft coral gardens at shallower depths teem with reef fish.
Thailand Dive & Sail is currently the most knowledgeable source of information and experience in the region. We are some of the first people to have explored and mapped the area. Our services include every aspect of a safari to the Mergui Archipelago. Whether it be a live-aboard booking, a reliable guide for your individual trip, a sailboat charter or visits to local Moken settlements, please feel free to contact us – you're in experienced professional hands.
|Name:||Mergui Archipelago, Union of Myanmar (also known as Myeik Archipelago)|
|Location:||35-65 km west of the southern Burma coast on the Malay peninsula|
|No. of Islands:||800+|
|Average Temp.:||24 – 32° C|
|Average Water Temp:||26 – 29° C|
Scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing
|Accommodation:||Available on live-aboard boats only|
|Fees 2010-2011:||Immigration fee when entering from foreign countries 200 USD - please bring new, unmarked cash in US dollars|
|Immigration: :||Please do NOT forget your passport!|
An adventure to the Mergui Archipelago typically begins in Phuket, Khao Lak or Ranong, Thailand. An immigration stop is made at Kaw Thaung, Burma, before venturing west into the islands. Thailand Dive & Sail will gladly advise you of your exact itinerary and best options for travel.
|From Bangkok:||Daily flights to Phuket or Surat Thani with Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways and Air Asia, then taxi or bus to Phuket, Khao Lak or Ranong, taxi to Thap Lamu or Ranong Pier|
|From Phuket:||Taxi, mini-van or hourly bus service leaving Phuket Town to Khao Lak or Ranong, then taxi to pier|
|From Surat Thani:||Taxi, mini-van or hourly bus service departs Surat Thani to Ranong, Khao Lak or Phuket, then taxi to pier|
Even after years of diving in Burma, we discover new things and unknown sites on each trip. And the feeling that we are indeed free to continue to explore draws us to this region again and again. Local experience and expertise in this area is rare, so that few operators run live-aboard trips to the Mergui Archipelago. This ensures that dive safaris are both adventurous and relaxing, with practically no other boats to be encountered in the islands and on the dive-sites.
The Mergui Archipelago remains a diving frontier. Individual discovery expeditions of new sites may be arranged by Thailand Dive & Sail. We are currently foremost in exploration of this region.
Thailand Dive & Sail can highly recommend several live-aboard options for the passionate diver seeking knowledgeable guides and crew, safe exploration and high-quality service.
|Season:||November – April|
|Best Time to go:||November - April|
|Experience:||Intermediate to advanced; beginners who require more attention should arrange for a private guide through Thailand Dive & Sail|
|Visibility:||10 – 40 meters|
|Tides/Currents:||Weak to moderate; strong at full and black moon|
|Depths:||0 – 50 meters / dives generally limited to maximum 30 meters|
|Types of Sites:||Limestone rock pinnacles; fringing, sloping reefs; boulder and hard coral reef gardens. To view our Dive-Site Guide, click here|
|First Aid:||All dive-staff trained in emergency first response, first aid and secondary care; all boats carry 100% emergency medical oxygen; evacuation plans in place|
|Recompression:||Located in Phuket; representative based in Khao Lak|
|Fees:||USD 200 in cash at immigration|
Over the years, our exploration of the region has led us to discover and map many dive-sites scattered throughout the Mergui Archipelago, eleven of which we currently highly recommend for live-aboard trips. The sites are so diverse in their topography and marine life that each time we return, we find something new. The rugged, high-profile dive terrain, and healthy reef ecosystems are home to a myriad of rare indigenous species seen no where else in the world. Encounters with sharks and rays are common. Macro and wide-angle opportunities abound.
Click on the dive site name for a more detailed individual description:
|Crayfish Cave W. Rocky|
|Eagles Nest W. Rocky|
|Fan Forest Pinnacle|
|South Twin Island|
|North Twin Plateau|
There are no day-trips to the Mergui Archipelago and it is not a snorkeling destination in and of it's own. However, for non-divers accompanying divers on a live-aboard trip, the islands do provide limites opportunities for snorkeling and swimming. Your live-aboard dive staff will not include a snorkel guide; however, you may make prior arrangements for a private snorkel guide to accompany you on your trip.
Experience the beauty of the Mergui Archipelago on your own sail boat! For individuals, groups and families of sailing enthusiasts, the islands are the ideal tropical destination and perfect basis for extensive diving and island exploration. Moor in stunning bays and enjoy the peace and relaxation of a remote, uninhabited island atmosphere. Adventure on your own time and at your own pace in an environmentally-friendly manner.
We've put detailed information about sailing the Mergui Archipelago in our Myanmar sailing Guide.
Let us charter your sail boat, skipper and crew to the Mergui Archipelago, arrange diving and snorkeling gear and customize your independent sailing trip itinerary. We are able to recommend and book charters with or without crew, as well as introduce you to experienced freelance diving staff and guides to accompany you on your adventure. If you are sailing independently throughout the local area on your own boat, please feel free to contact us regarding marine conditions, equipment and insightful tips and information about sailing the islands and diving the sites listed in our Mergui Archipelago Diving Guide.back to top
"I went back to Khao Lak after spending just one day diving in the Similans previously so had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. After looking around and contacting several of the numerous dive sites in the area, I eventually booked with this company because Sam who dealt with my enquiry speaks (is) English, was extremely helpful, and responded promptly and fully to my emails. I wanted to dive Richeleau Rock one day and Elephand Head Rock another and in fact she arranged this with two other companies, which worked out fine. I was staying about 40 mins from Khao Lak so she arranged transport for me, and it all worked out cheaper than if I had booked it through my hotel, and I think the same price as if I had booked it directly with each company. I must say that RIcheleau Rock is a spectacular reef that is well worth the journey North, and Elephant Head Rock was also truly memorable. It is over boulders rather than a reef, but there is loads of soft coral and fish of all sizes. Visibility was great and it felt like soaring over mountains and down into gullies - a truly fantastic dive. Thanks Sam for all your patient assistance - I know I ask a lot of questions!"★★★★★ by Brad_Lizzie 23.03.2013 0.3