Dawei (Tavoy) is the capital of Tanintharyi Division, in Southeastern Myanmar. As this area has been closed for tourism until early 2013, it is largely undeveloped and unexplored and makes for a very authentic and rewarding experience. Don't expect to find any packaged tours or trips yet.
Road trip takes 18 hrs from Yangon and 7 hrs from kanchanaburi in Thailand through thai-myanmar border (Phu Nam Ron Border Crossing ).The unpaved road from thai border to dawei is usable only in the dry season. From Yangon Aung Minlar bus station, daily 3-5buses at 14pm and 5am, 13000-15000Ks(aircon), 14h, okt.2015. Small vans transport people from thai-myanmar border.
From Mawlamyine buses depart from the Zeigyo bus station (NOT the main bus station where buses from Yangon, Hpa An, etc., arrive) at 630 PM only (Jan 2016) for 12000 kyat (Jan 2016) and arrive at 3 am at the bus station behind the airport. 1-1500 kyat moto taxi into town.
Air KBZ has flights during tourist high season (beginning October to end of April ONLY on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun) which fly from Yangon to Kawthoung (and return) stopping in Dawei and Myeik. Myanmar Airways flies twice daily from Yangon, once direct (1h) and once with a stop in Kawthoung (3h).
Myanmar Airways and Apex Airline are flying daily with the same routine as Air KBZ.
Nowadays it is easy to book a flight through local agents or your hotel. Most likely agents deliver the ticket to your hotel or thanks to Internet print it straight away.
From Mawlamyine to Dawei or Ye foreigners not allowed on local train. There is one daily train from Yangon to Dawei via Mawlamyine and Ye, which takes just over 24 hours. It departs Yangon at 18:25, departs Mawlamyine at 04:30, departs Ye (where you change to a different train) at 10:25 and arrives in Dawei at 19:00 (at least according to the schedule - delays are common).
Ferries to Myeik and Kawthoung leave from about 35km (21 miles or about one hour's drive) south of Dawei at around 04:00. You will need to be at the jetty by 03:00 as they will leave early if possible. It takes around 4 hours to Myeik (USD25-30) and about 10 hours to Kawthoung. The coastal ferry does not operate during the rainy season.
There are plenty of pickups, motorcycle taxis and trishaws in town to comfortably get around for just 500 to 2000 kyat. Another option is to rent a motorcycle and go around at will, most hotels can arrange one for 7000-10000 kyat a day.
Please dress modestly (cover shoulders, knees etc) in temples and pagodas
It is very easy to get to the beach at Maungmagan, it takes about 30 minutes and during high season there are many restaurants at the beach that serve excellent seafood dishes. However, first check the kitchen of the place you want to sit down at. A little rougher is continuing north on the road towards Nabule. It soon becomes a dirt road and requires better bike handling skills. A few kilometres before Nabule there is a straight pebble road to the left, which will take you past the (seemingly abandoned) Dawei Sea Port project site, towards a giant undeveloped beach. Really tough and adventurous is going to the south, and taking a dirt road westwards out of Langlon. These 'roads' are rocky, steep and require top motorcycle skills to navigate. At the end you will find different beaches where only a few curious local fisherman families reside. They will gladly invite you to take a swim with them. There is also a path towards a small empty beach and a golden rock. From Launglon, take the first intersection left, then a few km further continue straight when another path goes left up a hill, and park your bike at a little shrine at a 3 way intersection. From there take the path to the right that leads up (not the smaller one going down), cut through the fresh overgrown bushes to the end, and climb the rocks to the golden rock with the Buddha statue and on towards the beach. Study satellite imagery beforehand to prepare for the trip.
Okt.2015: the road is under construction, in 1-2 weeks will be more easy to go there. On the left side (150m) of Buddha statue, if you climbe (very easy) the beach rocks, you will find a very beautifool your own beach. 😊
ATM's CB Bank down the road from New Light Hotel on Arzarni Road has a functioning ATM. Also, Ayeyerwady Bank on the same road but nearer the river--can't miss the sign-- has one.
For hotels closer to the beach, you need to transfer to Maungmagan:
Normal bus leave at 6am 6.000kyat AC bus leave at 8am 8.000kyat Minibus leave at 4,6,8am and 4pm 10.000kyat 9-10h to Meyek
The bus station is far from the city centre, 15min with car or with moto, behind airport. 14.107064, 98.205830 GPS
Several companies run minibuses from Dawei to the Thai border town of Hteekee ထီးခီး departing daily in the morning between 8 and 9am. Hotels in Dawei and Coconuts Guesthouse at Maungmagan beach can easily arrange tickets, though it seems price varies between 22,000 - 30,000 kyat depending on the company and the commission taken by each hotel. (Coconuts was one of the cheapest at 22,000 kyat ($17) although requires additional payment to the minibus to pickup down in Maungmagan beach ).
There is a minibus station is located close to the southern end of the airport not far from Kyat Thadiang Pagoda. It isn't clear if it is any cheaper to purchase tickets directly from the minibus companies at the station.
The trip to Htee Kee takes anywhere from 5-7 hours with one stop for food early in the trip. The road takes you over some beautiful terrain with forested mountains. The road passes through Karen National Union (KNU) controlled territory and there are 3 Myanmar government checkpoints and two Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) checkpoints where passengers must present passports. Once entering KNU territory the road becomes unpaved.
Htee Kee itself is nothing more than a small village to accommodate border trade and Myanmar immigration.
Crossing the border from Myanmar to Thailand is a somewhat complicated process where documents must be presented to both Myanmar government and KNLA officials. Presently the distance between Myanmar and Thai immigration check points is presently around 6 km and as such cannot be traversed by foot. As minibus companies presently only sell tickets to Htee Kee transport may be arranged to cross the border. In all likelihood the same minivan that brings you to Htee Kee will be willing to continue on to Kanchanaburi on the Thai side of the border (resulting in the bizarre situation where the minivan driver upon arriving in Htee Kee will swap Myanmar license plates for Thai ones). Going rates for minivans across the border to Kanchanaburi appear to be around 300 baht per person though this may depend on how many people there are.
Please exercise caution as some hotels organising trips to the border will not detail the process and drivers may not speak any english. Some drivers will drop you at a bench in Htee Kee assuming you know how to organise your own way across the border, and will leave you there. In this case ask people sitting around where the minivans all park if they can help.
Immigration facilties on the Thai side presently located in the town of Phu Nam Ron. Note that it seems that construction of larger immigration facilities very close to the border is presently being undertaken. Note to that it is possible to negotiate transport with Thai traders and motorbike taxis across the border to the Thai immigration checkpoint (aim for 50baht per person). There are no visa on arrival facilities at the Phu Nam Ron checkpoint so those nationalities that do not have visa waiver agreements must have a Thai visa to enter Thailand.
Once through immigration it is an easy walk to the bus station where there are multiple buses to Kanchanaburi daily. The last bus to Kanchanaburi leaves at 4pm.