Mergui was the name given by the British to the southern district of Burma, though it had been used by other cultures centuries. For example, Muslim sailing directions dating from the 9th to 15th centuries called it, "Markhi." Under the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya, it was known as Marit, then became Myeik when the Burmese kingdom of Ava took control in 1760. “Beik,” as the locals pronounce the name of their town, currently has around 300,000 inhabitants.
Both Myeik and its archipelago of 800 islands were largely off-limits to foreigners until 1997. Much of the region has been open for travel since 2012, though access to many islands still requires permits, which can be difficult to obtain for some places. Nevertheless, there are daily boat trips from the town to nearby places. Staying in the islands overnight requires additional paperwork and can be expensive. The archipelago sustains a significant and growing population of Myanmar citizens, and tourism has steadily increased.
As the ocean port for the Tanintharyi River, and thus for the portage across the Malay Peninsula to Gulf of Thailand, Myeik was an important place for centuries. Much of this history remains obscure. There is evidence of a neolithic presence nearby but research has been limited. Prior to 1000 CE, Myeik was likely just a small village that served as a roadstead for much larger settlements upriver. People from across the Bay of Bengal and the Malay archipelago were attracted the existence of valuable sandalwood and other aromatic substances from Tanintharyi's forests. This also brought traders from places as distant as Venice and China, though India provided most of the foreign population at that time. Perhaps in consequence of this growing wealth, the region was conquered by King Aniruddha of Bagan around 1057 CE. It is thus far impossible to say precisely what that conquest actually meant, though, or even how long it lasted. The available evidence can be contradictory, and mostly likely the towns along the Tenasserim River were vassals to Bagan until that kingdom began to decline. The area was usually semi-autonomous due to its distance from centers of power, and because of the heavy monsoon which cut it off from the rest of the world for four months every year.
The Siamese kingdom of Ayutthaya began pushing for dominance on the Malay Peninsula after 1250 CE. They appear to have asserted firm control in "Marit" and "Tanaosri" after 1460, which fostered several hundred years of transpeninsular trade. It was possible to travel from Marit to Ayutthaya in ten days by crossing here, while sailing around Singapore could take six months and was much riskier. Then, as now, it was a very diverse place. There were large numbers of Siamese, Malays, Moken, Indians, Sinhalese, Persians, and other people from across the Indian Ocean. There were also substantial numbers of Europeans, one of whom, Samuel White, rather notoriously became shahbandar, or lord of the port, in the 1680s. The story is described in the book "Siamese White" by Maurice Collis, though this is better viewed as a historical novel than as history.Primarily at that time, the town was controlled by the Siamese (Thais), for whom the port revenue and access to trade, diplomacy, weapons and mercenaries was vital. Its defenses were formidable. Several attempts by both the English and the French to capture the port were easily repulsed, including a massacre of about 60 Europeans in 1687.
Burmese King Alaungpaya conquered Myeik without a fight in 1760. It may have changed hands several times during subsequent decades, but by 1780 it was established as the southernmost town of the Kingdom of Ava. This lasted until October 1824, when the British East India Company captured the town in the First Anglo-Burmese War. It stayed in British hands until Burmese independence in 1948, except for several years during World War Two when it was seized by the Japanese.
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, chickens, 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, so its residents are exceptionally friendly. The town is also noted for its high level of tolerance, and the strife that can occur elsewhere in Myanmar is very rare here.
The city is primed 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. Overland travel to more remote parts of the province is now possible for tourists as well.
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.
The express ferry boat from Dawei/Kawthaung stopped it services in December 2015 due the lack of demand. The local customers prefer the travel by road.
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.
Since August 2015 Island Day trips are allowed. There are a quite a few operators in town. Most of the hotels sell the day trips out to the island for 80 USD including pick up and drop off, lunch, guide, snorkeling mask it seems to be pricey, but still cheaper than the one in Kawthaung for 120 USD. Furthermore there are not to many tourists in town and so the number on the boats can be little. Overnight island trips with camping are possible from a 100 -120 USD per Person depending on the boat and destination, but are in a little gray area for the permission. As a rule of thumb as further out as you can get as better the snorkeling is. Bailey island can't be reached within a day trip and there stays pristine and has healthy snorkeling grounds. The only proper live aboard cruise is offer buy Jadeflower travel and Life Seeing Tours starting from 589 USD per Person for 3 Days and 2 Nights. 
There is a food market by the waterfront in the evening.
There are numerous small establishments with good food. You'd expect to find many seafood restaurants in central Myeik; however, virtually all the catch taken by the fishing fleets is sold to Thailand. But the nighttime food stalls along Strand Rd do grill prawns, fish and squid.
One local speciality is kaq kyi kaiq (scissor-cut noodles): strips of rice noodles stir-fried with egg and seafood. Try them at the friendly vendor near the mosque in the Muslim quarter.
There are numerous small establishments with good food.
Myeik's accommodation scene has improved dramatically in recent years, although foreign visitors are relatively scarce compared to elsewhere in Myanmar. Most hotels and guesthouses are located close to the harbour and seafront. The cheapest places along Strand Rd aren't licensed to accept foreigners.
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.
-- to the north--
Buses (10,000 MYK 7-8 hrs) and Mini Vans (12,000 MYK 6-7 hrs) run frequently to Dawei (5 Am - 11 AM - 5 PM).
The VIP Bus will leave 5 or 6 PM for 25300 Kyats to Mawlamyine. Several companies. It is recommend to take on the 12-14 hours journey the more comfortable option with TV and extra thick blanket rather than the local version. to get onwards to Hpa An you will need to change buses here. The start running in the early morning for 1000 -1500 Kyats.
The VIP Bus will leave 5 or 6 PM for 33500 Kyats to Kyaiktio. Several companies. It is recommend to take on the 15-17 hours journey the more comfortable option with TV and extra thick blanket rather than the local version. From Kyaiktio you still need to transfer to Base Camp King Pun of golden Rock. 45 min with public transport.
The VIP Bus will leave 5 or 6 PM for 33500 Kyats to Yangon. It is actually the same bus, which runs to Mawlamyine. Arrival time in Yangon is 12 - 1 PM. Taxis down town can be costly for one person. Just walk out to the main street and take either Bus 36 or 93 for down town.
--to the south--
The public river ferry is not longer available (June 18) to the lack of demand. Therefore you can take the minivan nearly every morning hour from Myeik to Tanintharyi 2-3 hours. Price 5000 Kyats
Located half between Myeik and Kawthaung you can arrange a stop here to break down the ride if you like. There is little to do and see here, but that is why stopping is worth it.
By Bus or minibus, usually overnight, tickets and pickup arranged from hotel desks (20000 - 25,000 MYK 9-11 hrs) depart 5 PM 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 (3-4 AM) at border bus terminal in Kawthoung. A taxi down the jetty will cost 2000 Kyats. The border opens around 7 AM. from where you can taken a for long-tail boat fpr Thailand. Wear life jackets supplied for wet 1/2hr. trip across river to Ranong Thai Immigration, opens 8:30 AM (Thai Time), so no rush on getting over.