Mergui Archipelago (also Myeik Archipelago or Myeik Kyunzu) is an archipelago in far southern Myanmar (Burma) and is a component of the Tanintharyi Region. It consists of over 800 islands, variable in size from very small to hundreds of square kilometres, all lying within the Andaman Sea off the western shore of the Malay Peninsula near its landward (northern) end where it joins the remainder of Indochina. Occasionally the islands are referred to as the Pashu Islands because the Malay inhabitants are locally called Pashu. A five-star casino and golf resort, the Andaman Club currently operates on Thahtay Kyun Island.
Geologically, the islands are characterized mainly by limestone and granite. They are generally covered with thick tropical growth, including rainforest, and their shorelines are punctuated by beaches, rocky headlands, and in some places, mangrove swamps. Offshore are extensive coral reefs.
The archipelago's virtual isolation from most of mankind's influence on the natural atmosphere has given the islands and therefore the close waters of the Andaman Sea an excellent diversity of flora and fauna, conducive to the region's growing quality as a diving destination.
Mergui Archipelago Village
On the islands themselves, various animals thrive, including deer, monkeys, tropical birds including hornbills, and wild swine. There are even unconfirmed reports of Sumatran rhinoceros on Lanbi, one of the bigger islands, but this has been widely discredited.
The largest and highest island is King Island across the interior channel from Mergui (Myeik). different vital islands are:
Christie Island, the southmost island of the cluster
Mali Kyun, the north island of the cluster cash Island
The area was solely opened to foreign tourism in 1997 once negotiations between Burma and dive operators from Phuket in Thailand. The archipelago's isolation is specified a lot of of it's not even nevertheless been totally explored.
Owing to the archipelago's remoteness, a live aboard cruise is that the solely manner for guests to travel diving in areas with names like Big Bank, Rainbow Reef or Silvertip Bank. Some islands have huge boulders, soft corals and sea fans. Others offer wall diving, caverns, tunnels and drop-offs.
Dive sites like Shark Cave feature gray reef, nurse shark and Blotched sting rays. Black Rock has manta rays and faculties of genus Mobula (devil) rays. Photographers are attracted by frogfish, ghost pipefish, ribbon eels and cowries as well as many crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, and shrimps.
The best diving conditions exist fromDecembe to April, with whale sharks and manta rays visiting from February to May.
Very few liveaboards visit Mergui land, thence you're nearly guaranteed to be alone on a dive web site. Some boats live from Phuket and Kao Lak, documented as diving destinations however The Smiling Seahorse leaves from Ranong, the border city creating it attainable to possess cruises completely in Burmese waters.