Permission still required for tourists to visit Mergui Archipelago

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Foreign tourists seeking to visit the pristine Myeik Archipelago in Southern Myanmar still need to submit permission from the authorities, according to officials.

“It has been specified that tourists are only allowed to travel in the towns in Kawthaung, Boat Pyin, Kha Mauk Kyi, Pyi Gyi Manai, Tayatchaung, Pu Law, and Kyunsu townships and they need prior permissions if they want to travel to nearby areas. As it is a journey by sea route, the specification has been set up due to weather and transportation conditions,” said an official from the Myeik district immigration department.

The border gates in Tanintharyi Region’s Kawthaung and Hteekham will be opened to tourists starting on August 28 and the tourists are expected to visit theislands in the Myeik Archipelago.

“When the tourists arrive, we still need places for them to visit. We need infrastructures for lodging and transportation, and security when travelling to far away islands. Now tour companies are travelling to [the islands] after drawing up tour programs. Depending on the tour program, the tourists can travel to the islands that are on the allowed list,” said an official from the Myeik district administrative ward.

Pristine white beaches, uninhabited islands and the elusive Salon people (Sea Gypsies) are the main attractions for tourists but the archipelago lacks in infrastructure and transportation.

“The southern area of the Myeik Archipelago and some islands in Kyunsu township are uninhabited so there aren’t any shuttle services to those places. The tour companies have to make arrangements for the tourists,” said a person who has studying the tourism industry in the Myeik Archipelago.

“Even though Pahtaw Pahtet Island is opposite Myeik, a special permission is needed to visit the island,” he said.

Besides the border gates in Kawthaung and Hteekham, Mawtaung border gate is also expected to be open for tourists within this year so Thai tour companies have been making inquires to work together with local tour companies, he added.

Source: Eleven Media

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