Mergui was the name given by the British to the southernmost part of Burma. The Mergui archipelago was off-limits to foreigners until 1997; although it is now open for tourism, access is limited and it remains largely unexplored.
The city is prime for tourist development. It sits on the shore of the sea, opposite Dawei, which is inland. Access to many islands is also possible. Ask immigration staff at the main pier for help in terms of getting a fisherman to get you somewhere.
The road to Dawei is now open for foreigners. The bus costs about MYK8,000 and it takes 10 hours for the 200km.
There is also a local bus between Myeik and Kawthoung. Travel agencies charge foreigners MYK20,000 and the whole trip takes about 24 hours without delays. Expect an extremely uncomfortable ride in an old, small, heavily packed bus with 40 seats and 90 passengers. The "road" between Myeik and Kawthoung is actually a long and bumpy dirt track. Especially during the rainy season it is likely that the vehicle gets stuck in the mud. Engine problems and collapsed bridges can cause further delays.
Myanma Airways has daily flights, and Air Bagan has 3 flights per week, from Yangon. Myanma Airways flights (typically once a week) from Mawlamyine and Kawthoung may also be available - check locally at the local Myanma Airways office.
Air KBZ has daily flights during the tourist high season (beginning October to end of April) which fly from Yangon to Kawthoung (and return) stopping in Dawei and Myeik. Prices for the Myeik to Kawthoung leg start at around USD50.
Flights may be cancelled with little or no advance notice, due to lack of bookings, the weather, or any number of other unpredictable circumstances.
Fast ferries run daily to/from Kawthoung (c. 6 hours, USD25-45 for foreigners) and most days to/from Dawei to the north (c. 4 hours, USD20-25 for foreigners). Ferries to Kawthoung depart around 07:30 while ferries to Dawei depart around 10:30 or so.
Five Star Line passenger ships may call here (approximately fortnightly) en route from Kawthoung to Yangon and/or vice-versa. Five Star Line have an office opposite the main piers. Foreigners must pay very high prices (c. USD100+) but the first-class 2-berth cabins are quite comfortable.
On foot, or by motorcycle-taxi or cycle rickshaw.
Longtail boats operate as ferries across the harbour.
Ask a fisherman to take you to an island for the day. It is not prohibited for foreigners and no special permit is required (as is sometimes written on the internet). You may see Mokens (sea nomads) on these secluded islands.
There is a food market by the waterfront in the evening.
There are numerous small establishments with good food.
There are several ultra-basic "guesthouses" in the area around the main piers, a few of which accept foreigners. Often, conditions are grim and prices for foreigners are astronomical.
There are a couple of state run hotels.
There is a very comfortable Western-operated (French) hotel a couple of km out of town on the main road heading north-east; prices here are reasonable.
The Mergui Hotel is a fair distance from the Strand Rd (tuk-tuk drivers will charge up to MYK4000 to get there) but is one of the nicer hotels in town and close to the airport (free shuttle service). It has fast Wi-Fi, a range of satellite channels and perfectly acceptable rooms. Prices start at USD40.