Myeik

myeik01Myeik, located in the Taninthayi region was once swarming with crowds of people from Thailand, China, India, Malaysia, Portugal, Dutch, France and England for trade purposes. People living in Myeik are a mixture of Myanmar, Mon, Shan and some Kayins who speak Burmese as the main language, but with strong Myeik dialects.

Taninthayi is one of the eight hundred and ten islands of the Myeik Archipelago which runs from Mali Island in the north to Zardetgyi Island in the south-west of Byinnaung. Most islands are uninhabited and were once used as a major back-door trading center between Myanmar and Thailand during Myannmar’s isolation period. Exports from Myeik include tin, tungsten, dried fish, dried prawns, Ngapi or fish paste, salt, and rubber. Tanintharyi has been the country's largest rubber producer since rubber was first introduced into Myanmar in 1876. Edible bird’s nest made from the protein-rich bird spew is an exotic and valuable product found in the region.

The Myeik Archipelago includes over 800 enchanting islands that are spread over the Andaman Sea along the southern Tanintharyi coast. The main tribe inhabiting the Archipelago is known as the Salone. These sea gypsies live in small boats or houses built on stilts along the sea coast. They are expert divers as they have to make a living searching for oysters and mother-of-pearls. Pearl diving is one of the major industries on these islands, particularly Pale Kyun (Pearl Island) which is located 85 miles south of Myeik. Lampi Island which is now a Marine National Park that attracts eco tourists for its lovely beaches, coral reefs, clear water, undisturbed wild life, and mountain ranges filled with biodiversity.

Kawthaung

images/myeik02.jpgKawthaung is the southernmost town located in Myanmar and take about two hours to fly in from Yangon. Kawthaung was known as Victoria point during the colonial days. Today it can be reached form the Thai border city of Ranong by a mere 20 minute speed boat trip.

Thahtaykyun (Andaman Club)

Also known as Palauru, Thahtaykyun is now home to a secluded resort five-star resort called “The Andaman Club Resort. The island is 10 minutes by away from Kawthoung, and is situated right on the Thai-Myanmar border. The hotel establishment facilitates include various sea sports such as fishing, wind surfing, and scuba diving under the silvery waters of the Andaman Sea.

Dawei (Tavoy)

Dawei is the capital of Tanintharyi Division and is the southernmost administrative region in the country. The coast is dotted with islands including the Heinze group, the Maung-Magan group, and the Myeik or Mergui Archipelago which altogether makes up more than 800 islands.

The native here speak Burmes with as strong dialect, similar to the Myeik natives. The most venerated pagodas in the region are the Shin Motehti Pagoda which is located a few miles south of Dawei, the Shin Datweh Pagoda in the north, and Shin Maw Pagoda on the Dawei promontory. There is also a 243-foot long reclining Buddha image which occupies the Lawka Tharaphu Pagoda near the town.

In the 18th Century a group of Dawei people known as Inthas or Sons of the Lake, migrated to Inle to avoid the continual conflicts between the Myanmar and Thais; since then, the Inthas became natives to Inle Lake in the southern Shan State.