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.
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Bus or minivan from Kanchanaburi bus station to Phu Nam Ron: 70/80 TBH. Bus from Phu Nam Ron to Dawei: 800 TBH.
Foreign (Non-Thai/Myanmese cititzens) travellers are strongly advised to check entry requirements into Myanmar through the Myanmese Embassy. Arriving into Myanmar at their international airports should not be too much an issue, however there may be a different set of requirements when entering Myanmar at their land border checkpoints.
The unpaved road from Thai border to Dawei seems to be now mostly in good condition (as of September 2016). Joint minivan ticket from Thai immigration to Myanmar immigration and from there to your hotel in Dawei costs 800 THB. From Yangon Aung Mingalar bus station, daily 3-5 buses at 14-17 PM and 5 AM, 13000-25000 kyat (VIP), 15h.
From Mawlamyine mini-buses depart from the Zeigyo bus station (NOT the main bus station where buses from Yangon, Hpa An, etc., arrive) at 6:30am & 6:30 PM for 12000 kyat and arrive at 3pm & 3 AM at the bus station behind the airport. 1000 kyat per person moto taxi into town, ca. 3000 kyat Tuk-Tuk. The busy & mostly single lane road from Mawlamyine is being widened so expect hold ups for roadworks, new bridges are also being built. mini-buses stop in all major towns for aprox 15 mins each time.
From Ye there are two daily buses (6 am and 10 pm, 4 to 5 hrs, 8,000 MYK). The early morning bus leaves near the market.
Myanmar Airways fly " Daily" Dawei- Yangon and Dawei- Kawthaung. FMI airline fly Mon,Tue, Wed and fri only for Dawei- Yangon and Dawei - Kawthaung. No flight to Myeik and Mawlamine .
Nowadays it is easy to book a flight through local agents or your hotel and Travel agents. Most likely agents deliver the ticket to your hotel or thanks to Internet print it straight away.
From Mawlamyine to Dawei or Ye foreigners are allowed to use the 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).
No ferry boat Dawei- Myeik and Kawthaung. It has stopped since 3 years ago.
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.
The town itself is surprisingly pretty and laid-back. The architecture is a charming mixture of colonial style and traditional wooden stilt houses. This probably won't last very long, as there are signs of new (less pretty and laid-back) times to come, so now might be a good time to check it while it's still there.
Please dress modestly (cover shoulders, knees etc) in temples and pagodas.
Hunting for undeveloped beaches by motorcycle (6,000-10,000 kyat per day, rented via most hotels) is a fun way to explore the peninsula to the west of Dawei. 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.
It is also possible to take coastal road southwards from Maungmagan to Panyit village and all the way to Launglon, and then turn back to Dawei, or go to San Hlam or Teyzit beach. Take direction to Boa Say from Maungmagan town and continue towards San Maria Bay. Before San Maria Bay Beach is a small village where you need to turn left at crossroads with a sign with a picture of a pagoda (this is likely the same as the way to Myaw Yit Pagoda described above). The road is in quite good condition up to Panyit, although you need to cross a couple of shallow water streams in the rainy season. At Panyit take left turn and keep left at the end of the village, but it is better to ask the locals which direction is Launglon (it is easy to lose right direction here as there are few small crossroads without any road signs - but you could as well go exploring and find your way to Panyit beach while there). The road right after Panyit village is quite demanding with a steep rocky ascent but manageable for moderately skilled scooter driver, and gets much easier when you reach a stretch of concrete road. The scenery towards the sea is very nice at this part and you will meet a lot of local villagers on your journey trough idyllic country side, highly recommended.
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.
Oct 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 beautiful your own beach.
Spend a day on a boat discovering and snorkeling the nearby Island of the Moscos Wildlife Sanctuary Two operators offer full day boat trips along the beaches of the Dawei Peninsula and to the southern islands of the Moscos Wildlife Sanctuary. The Moscos Islands, a protected area since 1927, offer probably the best coral (snorkel and diving) in Myanmar while the undeveloped sandy beaches are very beautiful and for most of the time completely empty - with only some local fishing families stopping there occasional for a rest. The price are 60 USD for traditional wooden boat at Dawei Panorama Travels ( +959450009860 email - [email protected]) and 65 USD for speed boat at Dawei Princess Boat ( Ye Road).
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:
You can also stay in beach bungalows on the Dawei peninsula:
They are fully booked throughout the high season (February-March), so contact them 2-3 weeks before. This also means that further development is pending soon.
VIP bus ( Business class with own TV and big confortable seat) to Mawlamine and Yangon and departure at 5:30 pm from main bus station. The price is 23500 Ks. VIP bus companies are Mandalar Min, Moe Kaung Kin, Unty Win Bus. Some VIP bus company has free pick up service and ask at the travel agent in Dawei.
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 departing daily in the morning between 8 and 9 am. Hotels in Dawei and Coconuts Guesthouse at Maungmagan beach can easily arrange tickets, price 20000 Ks ( share seat in probox) and 23000Ks ( Minivan with own seat). Bus tickets are easy to bus travels agents in Dawei and hotels receptions. The bus pick up and drop off at Thai immigration.
There is a minibus station 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 around 4-5 hours . 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. After an hour, there is a passport check. Then the road becomes rocky and bad for 3 hours. Then there is Myanmar immigration in Htee Kee (a small village with nothing of interest), where you will also pay any overstay fines (only $3 / day as of March 2016). After this you must get another bus across no man's land between Myanmar and Thailand, the price of which is highly negotiable (aim for 50 baht/person). It is a short 5-10 minute ride. Then you reach Thailand entrance immigration. Note: there are no visa on arrival facilities at this Phu Nam Ron checkpoint so those nationalities that do not have visa waiver agreements must have a Thai visa to enter Thailand. From here, buses to Kanchanaburi are 70 baht (the big Wi-Fi bus) or minivans 80 baht.