What to do in Southern Myanmar
Myanmar during decades of isolation maintained few destination opened for international tourism but the south part of Thailand stayed undiscovered and impossible to visit for long time. Therefore, the information available to travelers about the south is still very limited, making theme wonder if there is anything worth to see there. Our short answer is ” absolutely YES” There is a slowly growing number of hotels, bungalows , tour operators, airlines flying, bus operators running service and moreover only few travelers. So the Southern Myanmar is waiting. We hope you will enjoy our recommendation and find it helpful. We are very sure that Southern Myanmar will be very soon famous for beautiful beaches, amazing islands, authentic fireman villages and very peaceful people.
The Southern Myanmar it is long peninsula on the south from Yangon being between the coast of Indian Ocean and Thailand border. If you take a trip by the road the first city you will encounter will be Mawlamyaing about 6-7 hours from Yangon. Mawlamyaing is busy and larg port city but other attraction around will be Famous Hpa An and Myawaddy ( Meawadee). Keep going south and you will reach the second major and very important city called Dawei, which is about 12-13 hours from Yangon. It is medium size town but already important destination as it has the land border with Thailand and is possible to entre Southern Myanmar from there. The third city going south about 6 hours from Dawei and 18 hours from Yangon is Myiek. It is quite busy port city and is in the mainland center of Archipelago Mergui, So if you interested in island hoping Myiek will be most likely place that you will cross at some pint. The last city of Southern Myanmar literally, because it is located in the very bottom of peninsula is Kawthaung. It is much smaller city than other with few islands but is in very close location to Thailand. it is possible on the 20 minutes trip from the border be in the city, so it can be another entry point to the country. So Mawlamyaing, Dawei, Myiek and Kawthaung are the most likely destinations you will hear reading or talking about Southern Myanmar. Which should you visit? It depends.
Mawlamyaing is the closet from Yangon. You can get there on 7 hour journey from Yangon or Myawaddy ( Meawadee) the border with Thailand. It has interesting colonial history and architecture and 2 famous historically island. However you might stop in Mawlamyaing and make another journey to Hpa An wonderful place, famous for hills view and some amazing huge, natural caves. Mawlamyaing is not ideal place for the beach holiday but it is the closest to Yangon. Dawei is about 13 hours from Yangon, Myiek 18 hours and Kawthaung is more than 20 hours from Yangon by the road.
Dawei has 2 island and Kawthaung with wonderful corals around possible to explore with local travel agencies, what we really recommend to do it. However the best destination will be Myiek which is famous for being in the mainland cetre of Myiek the archipelago Megui. It consists of more than 800 islands, varying in size from very small to hundreds of square kilometers, all lying in the Andaman Sea off the western shore of the Malay. The archipelago’s isolation is such that much of it has not even yet been thoroughly explored. 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. It The best diving conditions exist from December to April, with whale sharks and manta rays visiting from February to May.
All the places described above are on the cost of the Indian Ocean with each close to some beach. Myiek has to be mention for having wonderful and amazing beaches on the surrounding islands same as Kawthaung. You might, however take a boat trip to get there. Dawei had grabbed our attention as a great place for the beach Holiday in Southern Myanmar. The closest and the most popular with only 30 minutest ride is Maungmagan beach and the most beautiful but 2 hours ride away is Grandfather beach. When the first is easy to reach and is occupied with reasonable amount of people, shops and bungalows near by, than the second one is quiet, undeveloped and not that busy but I can’t promise to be completely empty.
Fisher man villages
The fisherman village. The second thing to “be must” see are fisher man villages. There are few in the area some smaller and some bigger but visiting one will give you real southern Myanmar experience, which thrives on fishing. Some fisherman villages are not only the home for the sea people but are organized in something like a production house. There are buildings with nets, ice, assigned for sorting, cutting , packing and storing fishes. The best time to visit those villages is morning. We recommend equally Kawthaung, Myiek, Dawei.
The city sightseeing
Mawlamyaing and Myiek are equally large and quite busy and both have own interesting colonial history and architecture worth to do one day sight seeing which can be arranged by the local company. If you decide to sightseeing on your own, remember you will have very different feeling visiting the city center and outskirts. Kawthaung is smaller and we find it less interesting but it is quickly changing as it is literary on the border with Thailand. The most interesting in our opinion is Dawei which has fantastic mixture of wooden houses painted in different colors and brick houses next to each other. The brick and cement will dominate around the main busy roads, facilitating electronic shops or bank and wooden will take over the narrow and quiet avenues for older residents or restaurants lovers. That gives Dawei amazing feeling. It is possible to walk to the busy brick and cement made mobile shop and few minutes later walk around wooden quiet residential area.
It is possible to entre Souther Myanmar from Thailand. It is the best idea if you want to visit Kawthaung. Getting there by the road from Yangon takes more than 2o hours. Dawei can be reached from Thai border Kanchanaburi within 5 hours. and Mawlamyaing form Myawaddy ( Meawadee) within 6-7 hours. Crossing the land border with intention to travel within Myanmar you need to have the proper Myanmar visa from Embassy in Thailand or any other. The e-visa doesn’t qualify for land crossing.
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