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 as permits are necessary. Therefore it remains largely unexplored.
“Beik” as the locals call their home inhabitants around 300.000 people. It has been a significant port town for centuries. First were people from India to trade with Myeik. Portuguese traders followed later in the 16th century. The town itself was for centuries under the rule of the Kingdom of Siam (Thailand). The Burmese King Alaungpaya reconquered Myeik in the late 18th century. It has been under British rule from 1826 to 1948.
Despite having no beaches Myeik is not lacking with charm. The Thein Daw Gyi Pagoda right in the middle of town offers a splendid panoramic view over the town and the islands. Walking along the streets and can be like on a farm as many goats, chicken, even cows, dogs and cats roaming around. The main attraction however will be you. Myeik has been cut off from the rest of Myanmar for very long time. Overland travel, which is now possible for tourist was prohibited and only possible with special permit.
The city is prime for tourist development. It sits on the shore of the sea compare to 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 to the near islands. The closer islands nearby Myeik have no great beaches as mud and sentiments from the rivers been spilled ashore. However the mangroves are great for bird watching.
The government is trying to put Infrastructure in place on Kadan Island together with a big investor. This development is in great need as the best beaches and dives spots of Archipelago are far away from Myeik. Special licensed boats and permits are needed to go for multiple day excursions.
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). The trip will bring you to the nearby islands, which still in the murky mangrove waters of Myeik. Great white sandy beaches you won't find close to Myeik. This day trip shows the beauty of the mangroves and the life of the fishermen. Please dress with commonsense.
Life Seeing Tours - Southern Myanmar is the first proper travel agency in Myeik, which is doing trips to the Mergui Archipelago ranging from one to several days. They are not a live aboard company. Overnight trips will be home stays to benefit the small fishing communities and camping on secluded beaches. Their prices of the boat is shared among the people on the boat max 6 pax. They are a way cheaper then the life aboard cruises from Kawthaung. There office is located in the lobby of Hotel Grand Jade (28-30 Baho Street) about 5-10 min walk from the main jetty near the main market and the clock tower.
Three Dawei Tour - is a local travel agency based in Phunamron Border and in Dawei, which is operating trips and transports to Myeik through Phunamron Border in Kanchanaburi.
There is a food market by the waterfront in the evening.
There are numerous small establishments with good food.
Sky dining Lounge of Hotel Grand Jade (28-30 Baho Street) has a bar with a superb view over Myeik. It is about 5-10 Minutes walking from the main jetty near the main market and the clock tower. You can go there for sunset and have an ice cold Myanmar for 2000 Kyats. They have a wide cocktail menu starting from 2500 Kyats for alcoholic cocktails, Mai Tai, Tequila Sunrise, Singapore Sling you name.
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.
Mid to Upper-range