Kaw Thaung, Mergui archipelago

This southernmost, waterside town is culturally diverse and acts as the perfect gateway to Myanmar’s most impressive and adventure laden collection of islands. Mergui archipelago. Known in colonial times as ‘Victoria Point’, today Kaw Thaung is an important trading point sharing a border crossing with Thailand.

Nestled in the rolling hills that surround the archipelago and the site of many wonderful trekking opportunities, Kaw Thaung is home to multiple pagodas. Pyi Daw Aye pagoda being the most notable, although there are others dotted over the hills to explore at your leisure. Kaw Thaung is stunningly enveloped by the striking mergui national reserve and although you do need special permission to enter, you’re allowed to venture 24 miles outside of the city allowing the perfect opportunity for some scenic hiking and trekking. If you don’t have time to visit to Mergui archipelago then be sure not to miss the opportunity to visit the much more accessible Palane Tone Tone Island where you can enjoy a tranquil, waterside atmosphere, adventurous watersports and tempting locally run seafood restaurants.

The charming coastal road leisurely meanders around the regions rolling hills; you can follow it to cool down in the impressive Maliwun waterfall. The picturesque road also offers wonderful vantage points to enjoy one of Myanmar’s epic sunsets.

Pyi Daw Aye Pagoda

Close to the centre and with plenty of market stalls to refresh or buy souvenirs, the glittering Pyi Daw Aye pagoda makes for the ideal morning hike. You can spot its golden stupa, sparkling on the hills from down in town which makes it exceptionally easy to get to. With impressive vistas over the town and the Thai mountains, Pyi Daw pagoda is beautiful any time of day, but in the evening you can enjoy one of the regions favourite sunset spots.

Palane Tone Tone island

Just 5 kilometres north of Kaw Thaung you’ll find the ideal place to unwind and enjoy the wonderful nature to be found in this stunning region. Easily accessed by a wooden bridge and home to a thriving fishing village, Palane Tone Tone boasts the perfect place to explore your inner adventure seeker. With a gorgeous combination of lush mangroves and a long, sandy beaches, don’t miss the wonderful snorkeling and hiking opportunities on offer here.

The perfect stop if you can’t fit Mergui archipelago into your itinerary, the island is rustic and authentic and serves as the ideal ‘off the beaten track’ destination for adventure seekers, nature enthusiasts and culture junkies alike.

Maliwun waterfall

40 kilometres north of town is home to one of Kaw Thaung’s most visited attractions. Maliwun waterfall, also known as ‘The Jasmine Falls’ is extremely popular amongst both visitors and locals around January when fall flows heavy and fast. The area has several pools that can be explored, some with drops and for the more adventurous, a water park with slides and kayaks available to rent.

Mergui archipelago

By far the most common trip to take from Kaw Thaung is the one to the incredible, little known Mergui archipelago. Either one day trips or multi day trips are possible. Off the southern coast of Myanmar, this extraordinary collection of 800 islands is largely untouched by visitors or tourism. The islands vary in size from small and uninhabited to slightly larger and littered in palm trees. Some are even home to the Moken people, one of Myanmar’s most unique ethnic groups. The archipelago offers endless opportunities for snorkeling, diving, wildlife spotting and general exploring. The coral is alive and colourful and the waters are home to a fascinating range of sea life from sharks through to manta rays, to name just a few.

As well as endless water based activities, the islands are bursting with mystical tropical forests for hiking, endless empty beaches to stroll, fishing and kayaking through flourishing mangroves. Boasting all kinds of wildlife from gibbons to deer, stunning flora and fauna and rare bird species, the Mergui archipelago is truly a nature lovers dream.

Only opened up to tourism in 1997, it’s easy to see why some call it Myanmar’s best kept secret. With much of the area barely explored, now is the time to visit this magical gem.

Food and Drink

Kaw Thaung boasts a delicious eclectic fusion of Burmese, Thai and Chinese eateries. There are plenty of restaurants, teahouses and food stalls to keep you going, including a handful of western style bakeries.

Naturally, the food served up in Mergui archipelago is based around fresh fish caught directly from the sea. If you choose to venture into the Moken villages, here you are able to join the friendly locals at meal times indulging in cuttlefish and other traditional Moken food.

Just a one hour flight from Yangon, Ngapali was long ago named after Naples in Italy. With its pristine beaches, warm, lapping waters, swaying palm trees, infinite opportunities for adventure and ultimate laid-back vibes, it’s not hard to see why Ngapali has become Myanmar’ s premier beach destination. This stunning stretch of idyllic powder soft sand is nestled on the shores of the Indian Ocean on the Bay of Bengal and sits in the state of Rakhine. Boasting a sub-tropical climate and year-round sunshine, Ngapali promises holiday makers and locals alike, the ultimate exciting beach experience. Close to the town of Thandwe if you need a break from the beach and brimming with fun activities, Ngapali has something to offer everyone.

Ngapali is bursting with chilled out, beach vibes and although buzzing during peak season (November- March), it is by no means a party destination, but more of a place to laze around; taking in the stunning surroundings and practicing self love. During the rainy seasons (May-October), the place is still beautiful, although it’s worth considering that many hotels and restaurants completely close down or close early for family vacations or renovations.

Life in Ngapali is built around the beach. While away days relaxing with a good book, sip on happy hour cocktails or  try your hand at a variety of thrilling water sports. The stunning coral, located close to the shore line offers endless opportunities for spotting colourful fish and other exciting marine life. The local fishing villages are within walking distance from the beach and provide the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself into local life. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, it’s easy to find a boat to take you out to explore the unmissable nearby islands of Zalat Htone and Pearl Island.

Fishing Village

Tucked away behind the stretch of hotels occupying the shore line, lies the traditional fishing village of Jate Taw. Actually one of many local villages in the area, this one is the easiest to get to by foot and is a beautiful representation of what Ngapali once was. Locals here are friendly and curious and a walk around the village offers the perfect opportunity to see how local life is here. There are a few more villages further south; a bicycle is the perfect way to explore them.

Water Activities

A mecca for water sports, Ngapali offers everything from snorkeling along stunning coral reefs to scuba diving, kayaking and fishing. During the monsoon season, even surfing is popular here.

Pear Island

A popular morning or afternoon trip from Ngapali is Pearl Island. If you want to experience ultimate isolation and peace and quiet then it is easy to hire a boat and spend a few hours exploring this stunning island, relaxing on pristine sands and swimming in warm waters.

Zalat Htone

If it’s a more active day out that you’re after, hire a bicycle in Ngapali and take a cycle to the mystical black sand beach of Zalat Htone. A trip to these unique sands is perfect coupled with a stop in nearby villages Rakhine and Kinmaw where locals make clay pottery and other traditional artifacts.


A major seaport, this ancient town was once called ‘sandaway’ during the colonial era. The area is mountainous and the hills, littered with sparkling pagodas to explore. It is also home to a bustling daily local market which provides the perfect opportunity to shop for fresh local produce including fruits, fish and noodles, as well as a chance to indulge in homemade cuisine and enjoy eating like a local. The cultural immersion, hiking and daily life in Thandwe make it well worth the visit for a morning away from the beach.

Food and Drink
Street Shopper at Ngapali

Local caught fish including barracuda, squid and snapper is in abundance here, as well as fresh juices made from locally grown fruits and refreshing, straight from the tree coconut water. A popular dish is traditional Burmese curry, often made with coconut and shrimp and served with rice; lobster is also a popular choice. An array of Burmese Asian fusion food is available in the many popular restaurants and unsurprisingly, due to the soar in tourism and hotels, western diets are well catered food. Most restaurants in the area come with stunning vistas across the bay, and offer visitors the perfect sunset views and an unrivalled tropical ambiance.

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