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.
From Yangon Aung Mingalar bus station, 4-5 buses per day starting at 5 a.m. 20000 kyat (October 2015)
The road to Dawei is now open for foreigners. The bus costs about MYK8,000 and takes 7-8 hours for the 200 km journey. Mini van service is available for MYK 10,000, 6 hrs.
There is also a local bus between Myeik and Kawthoung. Travel agencies charge foreigners MYK25,000 and will promise that the whole trip takes about 13 hours without delays. However, delays seem to be inevitable and one should be prepared for a 22 hour ordeal. In addition, promises of an air conditioned bus should be met with skepticism, and if an old clunker bus arrives to pick you up, it might be better to demand a refund and simply fly the next day. Either way, plan on an extra day to take the flight instead, or else recover from the bus ride.
Alternatively, there are vans for MYK25,000 which may be quicker. Or not. The situation changes frequently. The "road" between Myeik and Kawthong is also rumored to have been improved.
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. Also be aware that foreigners are required to pay significantly higher prices than Myanmar nationals.
Ferry from Dawei/Kawthoung is running infrequently and was not recommended by locals.
On foot, or by motorcycle-taxi or cycle rickshaw.
Longtail boats operate as ferries across the harbour.
At Jade Hotel you can rent a scooter for 12.000 Kyat per day.
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 camping on secluded beaches, need some time to arrange the trip. 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. They also offer a free walking tour (2 hours departing from their office at 3 PM. Tour takes you to a small market for snacks (don't eat a huge lunch before as the snacks are mouth watering) and explains the history. Advisable to sign up the day before if you can.
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.
The prices for accomodation in Myeik are quite high. The cheapest option with the best value to money ratio is (03/16)
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
Buses (8,000 MYK 7-8 hrs) and Mini Vans (10,000 MYK 6-7 hrs) run freuquently to Dawei
By Bus or minibus, usually overnight, tickets and pickup arranged from hotel desks (25,000 MYK 10-13 hrs) depart sometime! in evening for long, uncomfortable and sleepless night with short occasional & essential rest stops. Bus will drop what's left of you in early morning (5-6am) at border ferry "terminal" in Kawthoung for long-tail boat to Thailand. Wear life jackets supplied for wet 1/2hr. trip across river to Ranong Thai Imigration, opens 9am.
By Bus to Kawthoung (20-25,000 MYK. 15-22 hours..)