Posts Tagged ‘Mergui Archipelago’

APAC Insider Magazine Announces the South East Asia Business Awards 2020 Winners

United Kingdom, 2020 APAC Insider Magazine has announced winners of the 2020 South East Asia Business Awards.

South East Asia has swiftly become a dominant force on the business landscape across a number of significant industries. Whilst other markets have stagnated in light of difficulties over the last couple of years, South East Asia has ploughed on, stronger than it was the year before. Even today, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, we can see the shining starts of the region evolve and adapt to the unique challenges the virus has bought about. There can be no doubt, then, that the businesses in South East Asia are defined by an entrepreneurial spirit and a need to be greater. Better. More innovative.

Awards Co-ordinator Katherine Benton commented on the success of the deserving winners: “I offer a sincere congratulations to all of those recognised in the South East Asia Business Awards programme. It has been a pleasure and a delight to run this year’s edition and recognize those businesses that truly deserve to be elevated above their peers.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated professionals selected for them, please visit https://www.apac-insider.com/ where you can view our full winners list.

ENDS

SEA Business Award 2020

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NEW DAWN FOR SMALL-SCALE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN SOUTHERN MYANMAR

published by Mekong Tourism online magazinge and contributed by Keith Lyons

13th of March 2020

A tiny village in the backwaters of southern Myanmar is cleaning up its act and laying out the welcome mat, as Keith Lyons finds during a visit to a remote settlement sharing an estuary with Thailand.

Mergui Archipelago / Myanmar

Long-tail boats are used for transport, cargo and fishing in the estuary which divides Myanmar and Thailand at the southern-most tip of Myanmar.

As tourist destinations go, it would be hard to find any place smaller than ramshackle Wae Ngae. The tiny Burmese hamlet of a dozen rickety wooden stilt-houses looks out across a wide estuary to its more prosperous neighbour Thailand. The sleepy village, where small fish dry on racks in the fierce midday sun, is an unlikely test-case for a responsible tourism project which ambitiously aims to better lives, while conserving neglected habitats, as well as providing intrepid visitors with an authentic non-touristy experience, an antidote to commercial tourism and the catchphrase of 2019 – over-tourism.

Just launched is a new Community-Based Tourism (CBT) initiative along with efforts to improve waste management. “This is part of our efforts to promote responsible tourism models and practices in the Kawthaung area, involving small communities, civic groups, local government and the private sector,” says Istituto Oikos Country Director and STAR Project Manager Daniele Alleva. Italian NGO OIKOS (www.istituto-oikos.org/en), which employs European and Myanmar biodiversity and sustainable development experts, launched its STAR Program in 2018 in the southern Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region, having initially focused earlier efforts on Lampi Marine National Park in the Mergui Archipelago before extending its outreach to the mainland’s Kawthaung district. Funded by the Italian government and private donors, the three-year project aims to promote well-being and social inclusion, as well as working alongside communities to protect soil, water, forests and wildlife.

While the Myanmar partly-democratic government has recognized the important role of tourism in the nation’s post-dictatorship economic development, the southern (and largely neglected) region has been identified as an area with untapped potential. Past exploitative forestry, mining and fishing practices have damaged the environment, with vast plantations producing palm oil and rubber and a smuggler economy meaning little of the region’s wealth from natural resources trickles down to ordinary Burmese.

There is no road access to Wae Ngae, a ‘new’ village established by Burmese from further north in search of new opportunities in fishing, farming or manual labor. There is no boat or ferry service to the villages dotted beside the estuary or up tributary rivers, says Shwe Fun from the partner organization Parchan River Conservation and Development Association (PRCDA). There are many challenges, including lack of facilities and infrastructure. Neither his organization, nor the government’s fisheries department (part of the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development), are adequately resourced or empowered. The only way for him (and the fisheries officer inspecting the oyster and mussel farms) to reach the settlements is to hitch a ride from the port of Kawthaung on a long-tail boat for the two-hour journey upriver.

longtail to the remote villages Myanmar

There aren’t enough resources and the estuary area bordering Thailand is lacking infrastructure, says Shwe Fun partner organization Parchan River Conservation and Development Association (PRCDA), who is working to improve livelihoods and protect the environment.

Passing the large flotilla of fishing boats docked at Kawthaung, most which catch squid and fish for the Thailand ‘grey’ market (there are no processing facilities in Kawthaung), any visit must be timed with the tides. Across the estuary of the Panchang river, which is sometimes turbulent in windy conditions, Thailand is tantalisingly close. On the Thai side, the river is known as Kraburi, and beyond Thailand’s largest preserved mangrove forests are the bright lights of Ranong, with its 7-Elevens, and menial jobs for those lucky enough to be able to work legally (or illegally).

The inequalities are highlighted at Wae Ngae village, where residents struggle to survive, fishing at night the river estuary, trapping crabs and farming oysters and mussels on the tidal mudflats and mangrove forest riverbanks.

Despite the subsistence existence of the inhabitants of Wae Ngae (and its larger twin settlement of Wae Gyi), a banquet of freshly-prepared dishes is served for visitors upstairs in a newly-constructed stilt-house. A locally-harvested medicinal root, similar to cassava, is served in a tonic drink with honey, preserved in whisky.

As brahminy kites and sea eagles soar and circle on thermals, Alleva says for adventurous visitors there are opportunities for bird-watching, spotting dolphins, visiting fish and shellfish farms, and kayaking in the mangroves. “This project is ultimately run by the community, to ensure sustainability,” he says.

As well as the CBT initiative OIKOS has undertaken waste awareness campaigns in many villages. “Wae Ngae is one of five villagers where we are promoting social inclusion by income-generating activities including a waste management project to enable participants to earn money instead of discarding trash,” says ecologist Cristina Tha, an assistant project manager with OIKOS, showing the area behind the settlement set aside to consolidate the rubbish.

Waste Managment program - Mergui Archipelago

Trash is separated for re-use, sale, recycling and disposal at a small estuary village in southern Myanmar, as part of a waste management program and community-based-tourism project by Italian NGO OIKOS

Later the open-air downstairs area is used for a meeting about the village’s waste recycling program which sees rubbish sorted for re-use, recycling, or disposal. Plastic which cannot be re-used is burned at high temperatures, while glass and cans along with scrap metal are ferried to Kawthaung or across the river to Thailand, where it can be sold. “It has been a challenge to get community buy-in, but at Wae Ngae they have an incentive to sort the trash, as the village makes money by selling it, mainly to Thailand, if the price is better than available in Kawthaung,” says assistant project manager Giulia Cecchinato, who has a background in forest and participatory forest management.

From Wae Ngae it is a pleasant 15-minute walk through leafy areca palms which yield betel nut, and rubber plantations where the bark is cut to bleed white latex into coconut shell cups, to Wae Gyi, where an open rubbish dump sits between the shoreline and the primary school and hilltop Buddhist monastery. Visitors to the area will be able to venture up a tributary of the Panchang River where ancient mangrove forest line the tidal stream, and clamber up a hillside for a panoramic view of the tropical jungle, before heading back to the bright lights of Kawthaung or Ranong, or the Andaman Club Casino on a nearby island.

Visitor numbers to Kawthaung have increased in recently years, as the border port is the gateway to Mergui archipelago’s new resorts, though many of the visitors are day trippers from Thailand, or foreigners on a quick visa run. There’s hope that backwaters on the estuary and among the mangroves such as Wae Ngae and Wae Gyi might benefit from the growth in tourism. Last week, the village of Wae Ngae received its first guests.

Interesting in visiting this amazing area?

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How to cross the border from Ranong/Thailand to Kawthaung/ Myanmar

To cross the border in Ranong / Thailand to Kawthaung in Myanmar is quite easy and a great start into your Mergui Archipelago adventure. You must cross the border river which separating the two countries. For those who try to make this way by themselves we did a step by step guideline how to do and what you need 😊

Kawthaung in Myanmar

There are a few things you need to bring along with you on the journey. Bring your passport, a copy of your passport and the little white departure card, you received when you entered Thailand (TM6). For the Myanmar side, you need the printout E-Visa form or the visa which is already stamped in your passport from a Myanmar Embassy, as well as some new, nice, and crisp US$ Notes. The officers do not accept any other currency or old US$ notes. The amount payable depends on the length of stay in Myanmar. The Myanmar Authorities do not accept any other currency than US$.

Start point is the Saphan Pla Pier and Immigration Checkpoint in Ranong.

The Saphan Pla Pier in Ranong is a small pier hidden behind the PTT petrol station and the 7/11 convenience store.

Ranong Immigration Checkpoint   Immigration Ranong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google map: 9.948098, 98.594781

Here are the directions in Thai, in case you want to show them to your driver:

กรุณาไปส่งที่   ท่าเทียบเรือ
เทศบาลตำบลปากน้ำระนอง
ถนน เฉลิมพระเกียรติ

As soon you arrive many of tout will offer you a boat to cross over to Kawthaung, the gateway to the Mergui Archipelago. The prices are different and most of the time these guys are trying to fill up their long tail boat with more people, so maybe it can a little bit time to departure.  But you can also negotiate for a private boat.  The usual price is around 300-500 THB per longtail or if you join in the prices per person is between 50 – 100 THB.

But before you jump into one of the longtails, do not forget to visit the officer at the Thai Immigration Checkpoint as you must check out of Thailand.  The Immigration office are 2 small windows on your right side when you come in. Please make sure you have your passport ready.

The Officer will ask you where you are going and how long you are going to be away for, because they are looking for people who try to do multiply visa runs by crossing the border. By Thai Immigration Law, every foreigner can cross the Thai Border per land only two times per calendar year.  If you needed a visa to visit Thailand, please make sure to get a re-entry visa before leaving Thailand, if you are planning to return to Thailand after your trip to Myanmar and your adventure within the Mergui Archipelago.

After you got your passport with an exit stamp in it back, just walk to the Longtail boat pier. The small and somewhat adventurous looking boats there, are the only available transport option to Kawthaung.

A tip: Bring a copy of your passport as the little boats need a copy for the passing checkpoints.  Otherwise you can make a copy at the little shop next to the Pier in the little kind of supermarket, the longtail guys are also happy to make a copy for you the prices are usually between 5-10 THB.

Crossing the river

The Longtail boats have a cover, so you are protected from the sun. Please put one of the life Jackets before the boat departs.

On the way to Kawthaung, you will stop an Immigration points, where Thai passports were taken up to be stamped. There was a Customs checkpoint next to it. Sometimes they will ask you to show your passport, sometimes not. The process is always different, but you do not have to leave the boat as your captain and crew will take of this whole process, just hand them over your passport which you will get returned as soon as they back.

30 – 40 minutes later you will arrive in Kawthaung, the entry point to the Mergui Archipelago.

On the Way

 

 

 

 

 

After this quick stop at the Thai Immigration Checkpoint you will pass the Thai Customs before you get out to Ranong area to cross the river between Thailand and Myanmar. Enjoy the cruise along stilt houses on your way.

 

On the way you will pass on a tiny island the Thai Army station.

Before you reach the mainland of Myanmar you will stop or slow down at another tiny island with Myanmar Army present, also here you must show the passport by just holding it up, you do not have to get of the boat.

 

Sometimes the driver just must show the passport to the officers by collecting your passport, but you will get them back immediately as before.

Arriving in Kawthaung, Myanmar

In Kawthaung you will be welcome from many touts and men on motorbikes.  Just ignore them and make your way to Immigration.

After disembarkation, turn left along and walk along the road until you get to the:  Walk along this road to get to the Immigration Office which is located at the Myo Ma Jetty also called the Myanmar Immigration Pier, on your left-hand side.  Just have a look for the sight that says, “Warmly Welcome and Take Care of Tourist”.

Enter the pier area and turn behind the little building left to the small Immigration Building.

Get in and give the officer your passport, a copy of your passport and visa. They will stamp your passport and take a picture from you, same as they do in Thailand. If the camera is not working, what can be happen sometimes, have a passport picture ready.  After the Check in process you are ready to enjoy your time in Kawthaung.

Outside the Mya Ma Jetty English-speaking touts will await you to give directions and be waiting for you to exit the office to offer a taxi ride, hotel, guide or suggestions on things to do in Kawthaung.

Welcome to Kawthaung and the Mergui Archipelago!

 

Kawthaung Border Crossing Wrap-Up

Paperwork to bring:  Passport, 2 copies of your passport and proper Myanmar and Thailand Visa, one Passport picture (just in case)

Price of boat: 300-500 THB for a boat or 50-100 THB to join in

Time on boat: 30-40 minutes including all the Immigration stops around 60-75 minutes

Time Zone:  Myanmar is a half hour behind Thailand time : 7:00 pm Myanmar is 07:30 in Thailand

The Myanmar Immigration Office is open from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm local time

 Explore the amazing Mergui Archipelago on one of our amazing Cruises or unique Resort. Combinations between them is also possible

How to cross the border from Kawthaung / Myanmar to Ranong / Thailand

Kind of the other way around.

  • Check out at the Myanmar Immigration office (Check your exit stamp)
  • Make your way back to the Myanmar Longtail pier and find a boat to bring you to Ranong
  • Arriving at the Longtail pier in Thailand, go to the immigration office and collect your TM 6 arrival form
  • Fill out the form and see the officer again to check you into Thailand (Check your entry stamp and expiration date)

If you need any transfer to or from Ranong within Thailand visit below link with many option of taxi, van, bus and train

Your booking engine for land transfers around asia

 

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Myanmar eases travel rules

January 21, 2014 by TTRweekly

YANGON, 21 January 2014:    Myanmar’s immigration minister Khin Yi says the Muse-Shwe Li border gate will soon be upgraded to provide a new tourist entry point to the country.inside-no-511

The immigration minister told local media that the border gates between Myanmar and Thailand – including Tachileik-Mae Sai, Myawady-Mae Sot, Kawthoung-Ranong and Htee Khee-Sunaron – have also been upgraded as official international entry points for international visitors allowing them to travel freely to other destinations in the country and exit through a different checkpoint if required.

Visitors with valid passports and pre-issued visas from a Myanmar Embassy have been allowed to travel freely to most destinations in the country since last August.

According to the plan, foreign visitors holding a valid visa will be allowed to enter and exit Myanmar through the Muse gate, or exist through other points such as Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports.

Myanmar is opening up more and moreToday, visitors crossing the border at Muse must enter and exit at the same point.

“The ministry will carry out tasks for mutual visa exemptions, upgrade an online visa system and allow permanent residence for foreigners wishing to work or retire in the country.”

He added: “We will cooperate through our links with regional organisations like GMS, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, and ACEMECS to introduce improvements such as, installing advanced technologies at international airports, border gateways, and government departments to establish a real-time data system and systematic immigration border management systems during the next fiscal year.”

Last year, Myanmar fully opened four checkpoints on the Myanmar-Thai border, namely Tachileik- Mae Sai, Myawaddy-Mae Sot, Tiki-Sunarong and Kawthoung-Ranong.

Myanmar southern border town

Travellers can continue their journey to other destinations and it gives them the choice to exit through another checkpoint than the one they used to enter the country.

Myanmar has 16 border checkpoints with neighbouring countries, but most of them offer limited access.Welcome sign at the bordertown Kawthaung / Myanmar

Myanmar authorities also grants pre-arranged visa-on-arrival for visitors for visitors from 48 countries. It requires pre-approval from authorities. Once the traveller has confirmation that the visa-on-arrival has been approved they can travel to Yangon to have the visa stamped into their passport on arrival.

However, airlines are very reluctant to transport visitors who claim to have a visa on arrival approved. They argue that supporting evidence that a visa has been approved and will be issued on arrival is not clear cut.

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Welcome to the Southern Islands of the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar

Visit the southern Islands of the Mergui Archipelago including the famous island of Horse Shoe Island and Comb Island with its amazing heard form blue lagoon.

southern end of the mergui archipelago

1 Say-Tan Island – Dunkin Island

South of Za-Det Island and northwest of Kawthaung lies this beautiful island, which is a great place for snorkeling. At the southern part of Say-Tan Island is a small rocky hill, which is a nice place for scuba diving. The waters around island are so clear, that you can see the seabed at 20 m of depth from the boat.
On this island you can enjoy a picnic style packed lunch on a beach. The fine white sand is a perfect place for your beach holiday photos. Feel free to take a stroll along the beach and listen to the sounds of the ocean and jungle.

Sunset over the Mergui Archipelago

2 Myin Khwar Island – Horse Shoe Island

Horseshoe Island is formed like the namesake and is one of the hidden beautiful islands in Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago. It is a small island near Zadetkyu and Cock’s Comb Island, which is also known as Emerald Heart Island. The island is also known as Myin Khwar Island in the local tongue and has a unique characteristic. It’s a breath-taking place, with crystal clear waters and powdery white sandy beaches.

Myin-Khwar-Island-–-Horse-Shoe-Island

3 Kyet Mauk Island – Cocks Comb Island – Emerald Heart Island

The island consists of limestone and does not have a beach, but a stunning lagoon that is shaped like a heart. The inlet changes the color of the water and that is why it is also called Emerald Heart Island. The water inside the inlet is very calm and perfect for snorkeling. The entrance to the lagoon is on the east side of the island and it is only possible to get through the opening on the surface when the tide is low enough. Often numerous sharks and lobsters can be found here too.

Kyet-Mauk-Island-Cocks-Comb-Island-–-Emerald-Heart-Island

Why not check out one of our amazing packages to visit a few of southern Islands of the Mergui Archipelago or even all of these amazing Islands.

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