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Off The Beaten Tack in Burma
As the owner of a luxury yacht, you’re always looking for an exotic sailing destination that is far from the madding and crowded berths of the world’s top marinas. Sure Monaco is fun, but if you’re looking for true adventure on the high seas, then nothing beats exploring the Mergui Archipelago, located south-west of Myanmar (Burma).
Visit the Islands of the Mergui Archipelago
With just over 800 islands making up the unspoiled Mergui Archipelago, only a fraction, perhaps a dozen, have any permanent inhabitants. This tropical paradise in the Andaman Sea is spread over 14,000 square miles, and with plans afoot to turn Mergui into the new Phuket, you’d better instruct your captain to set a course for one of the world’s last pristine island destinations.
Some of the islands are massive, the size of Singapore, while others are not more than a rocky outcrop in the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean.
Mergui – Untouched by Man, Untouched by Time
How did the islands of the Mergui Archipelago remain one of the planet’s best kept secrets? An isolationist foreign policy, following the independence of Myanmar after World War II served to keep the secret. It was only in 1996 that the first foreigners were permitted access to the island chain. The mountainous, jungle covered islands boast sandy white beaches, azure seas, and impeccable coral reefs ringing many of the islands. Very little tourism exists (for now), and the indigenous people of the Moken tribe still live a nomadic, hunter-gatherer existence moving from island to island throughout the year. Also known as ‘sea gypsies’, the Moken are masters of the art of free diving in the waters around the islands.
Mergui – You Could Be the First
Literally. You could be the first person to dive in the pristine water off the island, to moor your yacht in the sheltered coves of one of the smaller islands and to experience the views; the full bounty of nature at your fingertips. There are still only a handful of luxury yacht charter companies that have a license to bring people to the remote area, most celebrity yacht owners who have ventured into these waters, do so by hiring one of the experienced charter captains to join their crew for the duration.
The largest islands in the chain are inhabited, especially Kawthaung in the south and Mergui to the north. There are rustic hotels, marinas and modern conveniences, but once you leave the larger islands, you’re on your own in the big blue. Nothing beats the thought of adventure on the high seas. Featured in magazines like Conde Nast Traveller, the islands of the Mergui Archipelago are quickly becoming the world’s best kept secret yachting destination.
Lampi Island, is Myanmar’s first marine national park, with stunning biodiversity and the opportunity for kayaking and diving on the coral reef. If you’re looking for diving spots, The Burma Banks and Black Rock are two of the most popular, though a dive at Shark Cave is a breathtaking experience, especially in the massive underwater canyon.