Walk along kilometres of white sandy beach with the only foot prints those behind you, swim, snorkel in clear emerald waters, explore tropical forests, hiking through valleys and up hills, kayak through enchanted mangroves and go for fishing: you have got it all! This itinerary will bring you to discover the uncontaminated islands of Thailand and Myanmar. During this journey you will have the chance to unwind and discover one of the most well preserved paradise of our planet down to the remote Andaman Islands for a really unique lifetime experience. The Islands are still the ideal place to get away from it all. Its lovely opaque emerald waters are surrounded by primeval jungle and mangrove forest, and snow-white beaches that melt under flame-and-purple sunsets. At the same time this itinerary offers a unique opportunity to experience the way of living of one nomadic community, the Moken, known as sea gypsy. One of the few remaining hunter-gatherer populations in Southeast Asia, the Mokens have made the sea their home, foraging food from oceans and forests, trading fish and shells for other necessities, and traveling by boat across the waters of southern Burma and Thailand, the Moken have maintained a self-sufficient, nomadic way of life along the andaman coast for hundreds of years. The discovery of Moken life style and the emerald green Andaman islands starts from Koh Surin in Thailand. Koh Surin National Park is a paradise of fine white sandy beaches, thick jungle, crystal-clear waters, and the most extensive coral reef in Thailand. It is also home of the Moken. who have lived in the waters of the Andaman sea for centuries. Koh Surin National Park is the ideal place to go for people wanting to experience nature in its most beautiful and pristine form, and connect with a culture that can still practice some of its traditions in this modern world. The journey continues in Myanmar. You will take a short break from you daily life and dive into a relaxing adventure on a live aboard cruise. With a 5 days trip you will get a good Impression on the unspoiled secret world of Mergui Archipelago and its native people who have rarely been touched by modern civilization…Virtually unknown to the outside world, the Mergui Archipelago is located in Burma’s remote South: a group of 800 deserted islands that lie at the heart of our sailing area. Our Islands Safari start in Kawthaung (formally called Victoria Point) closed to the border town Ranong in Thailand, about 300 km north of Phuket. Once you enter this part of the world that has hardly been explored and immerse yourself in this paradise like nature you will feel the same sense of adventure the great explorers have felt 200 yeas ago. Most of the Islands are uninhabited and overgrown with lush tropical rainforest right down to the wonderful white sandy beaches and on some of them there are ancient Mangrove rivers and caves, ideal for excursions on sea kayaks or rubber dinghy. These islands are home to many different mammals like mouse deer, jungle cats, wild boars, armadillos, monkeys, reptiles like the Burmese pythons and monitor lizards. A variety of colourful tropical birds like king fisher, sea eagles and the rare and endangered south-east Asian hornbills. Our well equipped vessel also provides the best platform for snorkeling and exploration of the colourful coral reefs below the water. There are many snorkeling sites which belong to the best in the world with many different hard and soft corals teeming with a great variety of tropical fish and maritime creatures. During our Islands Safari on MV Sea Gipsy you might also have opportunities to meet the almost extinct Moken or Salone people, also called “Sea Gipsies” as they are living on their boats and mostly roam around the islands as hunters and gatherers. Learn from them how they live from and with the ocean in perfect harmony. Try to paddle in one of their traditional canoes which is hand carved out of one single tree trunk and see how they spear fish or dive with traditional methods that haven’t changed for centuries. Nature lovers, romantics and adventurers alike will deeply enjoy the experience to visit this unspoiled secret world and its native people who have never been touched by modern civilisation.
Registration can be requested for group travel or for self-travel. For group travel, registration is not binding. Upon reaching the minimum number of members necessary for the formation of the group, usually 4 or 6 people, you will be asked for confirmation of booking and payment of a deposit.
1° Day: arrival at Ranong-Kuraburi
Transfer from Ranong airport to Kuraburi. Check in in the hotel. Later you will have a pre-trip briefing at the project office. Enjoy the evening in the quaint town of Kuraburi, explore the evening market and local Thai food at one of the many restaurants in town.
Overnight in Kuraburi
2° Day: transfer to Koh Surin National Park
Koh Surin National park
Early morning you will have a traditional Thai breakfast at the local market in Kuraburi with your translator and then transfer to the Kuraburi Pier. At 08:30 transfer to Koh Surin by speedboat. Koh Surin National Marine Park rates as one of Thailand’s prime island locations. The two main islands Koh Surin Nua (North Surin Island) and Koh Surin Tai (South Surin Island) form the bulk of the land mass. The other 3 satellite islands both enhance the overground vistas and provide supplementary fringing reef. Check into your tent accommodations at the National Park Headquarters Proceed by a traditional long tail boat to the Moken village, where you will meet your local guide. On the South island there remains a small village of Moken, also known as Chao Ley or Sea Gypsies. These are a fascinating people who live harmoniously with their marine surroundings. They often live and work from their “kabang”, traditional boats crafted from a single piece of wood. A tour around the village is an insight into the intricate relationship between the Moken and their surrounding environment. Learn about the brightly colored “Spirit Poles” and Moken homes, built on wooden stilts directly on the beach. You Moken guide will bring you for a forest hike, highlighting useful plants, including medicinal herbs, edible species, and those used in construction of traditional houseboats. Try your hand at rowing a Moken “row-boat” and re-enacting their method of spear fishing. Have a packed lunch under the shade of a tree on a beach near the village. After lunch go for snorkeling in the coral reef exploration with Moken guide. Your guide will take you to a wonderland of colorful tropical fish and allow you to witness the impressive Moken swimming techniques. Late afternoon end your day with your Moken guide and return to the park headquarters to relax and enjoy the sunset from the white sand beach. Dinner at the park headquarters canteen.
Overnight at camping site in Koh Surin National Park (B,L,D).
3° Day: explore Moken village
Koh Surin National Park
Breakfast at the park headquarters canteen. After breakfast meet your Moken guide and take a snorkel tour to see the underwater life of the sea gypsies, how they have adapted to living in the water, and why they love it. Watch as your Moken guide spots sea turtles and sharks swimming in the waters. Return to the park headquarters to have a Thai style lunch. After lunch hop back on the long tail boat to go visit special Moken places around the islands and learn how they have lived here for generations. Later return back at the park headquarters. Enjoy free time to walk on the beach, relax, and enjoy the sunset. Dinner at the park headquarters canteen.
Overnight: Koh Surin National Park (B,L,D).
4° Day: snorkeling Koh Surin
Breakfast at the park headquarters canteen. Reunite with your Moken guide for more snorkeling at a new site or another visit to the village. Return to the park headquarters to have a Thai style lunch. After lunch pack your belongs and prepare for departure from the island. At 14:30 depart Koh Surin by speedboat to Kuraburi Pier. Transfer to Kuraburi eco-resort for some rest.
Overnight in Kuraburi (B,L).
5° Day: board in Kawthaung
Kuraburi- Kawthaung – The Three Islets (115 Island)
Early morning transfer to Ranong and from there you will enter Myanmar border. After finishing all visa procedures, your new Burmese guide will meet you at the pier in Kawthaung and transfer you to your boat for check in. Along the way, observe the bustling border town. If you are interested and if time permits, you may take part in a short sightseeing tour (optional). Stroll through the lively market near the Jetty, visit the famous Victoria Point, the most southern tip of Myanmar’s mainland, photo stop at the King Bayint Naung statue. Visit the Pyi Daw Aye Pagoda with scenic views across the river to Ranong and finish the tour with a short drive through the fishermen settlements on the out skirts of the town. Overnight cruise to The Three Islets (115 Island) (B,L,D).
6° Day: Moken village Nyaung Wee Island
The Three Islets (115 Island) – Nyaung Wee Island – Bo Cho Island – Lampi Island
Wake up with a stunning view at The Three Islets (115 Island). After breakfast, swim and snorkel with tons of fishes through the crystal-clear water. Later follow our guide through the lush tropical jungle to a small beach, where you can find a lot of beautiful shells swapped in from the ocean. Before Lunch cruise to Nyaung Wee Island and visit the Moken Village. During lunchtime we will cruise to the largest sea gipsy settlement in the area on Bo Cho Island. Be prepared to get surrounded by curious kids. Bring some small gifts and be even more overwhelmed by their warm welcome. Walk through the village and take scenic pictures from the Pagoda located on the hill overlooking the entire village. Chill-out onboard and observe the daily life of the almost extinct sea-gypsies. Cruising to Lampi Island (if time and tide okay visit the mangrove forest). Do some night fishing.
Overnight onboard nearby Lampi Island (B,L,D).
7° Day: kayaking in Lampi island
Lampi Island – Tar Yar Island – Ko Phawt Island – Pilar Island
Early morning kayaking along the mangrove forest or snorkeling, swimming or relax on the beach. Cruising north to Tar Yar Island kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, beach. Cruising between Ko Phawt Island and Lampi Island for another mangrove forest, beach etc. Cruising in the early evening south to Pilar Island. Overnight onboard at Iguana Bay (B,L,D).
8° Day: snorkelling Zar Det Nge Island
Pilar Island – High Rock (Hlaing Gu Island) – Zar Det Nge Island – Salon Island
Early morning Iguana Bay. Departure around 09:00 am to High Rock (Hlaing Gu Island), swimming,visiting Island, Kayaking, Snorkling. Continue to Zar Det Nge Island. Snorkeling, Kayaking etc. Continue to Salon Island. BBQ dinner on boat.
Overnight onboard nearby Salon Island (B,L,D).
9° Day: cruising to Kawthaung
Salon Island – Kawthaung- Ranong airport
Wake up, after breakfast cruising to Kawthaung. Disembark MV Sea Gipsy and transfer to the Kawthaung and then proceed to Ranong airport. (B)
All the itinerary has been designed in order to promote direct or indirect benefits for local communities, environment and cultural heritages. When possible we have selected traditional accommodations sensible to social and environmental issues, following general principles and practices of responsible tourism. All of our activities and itineraries are designed in collaboration with the villagers themselves, based around the principles of community-based tourism. We are committed to providing local people with a complimentary source of income while still continuing their traditional way of life. We also directly support the communities in which we work by putting excess revenue back into village. Proceeds from our private tours are donated to the Moken Community Fund which servers the Moken and their greater needs. Funds can go towards community improvements, health emergencies and elderly care. The villagers – the guides, host families, handicraft cooperatives – receive fair wages as stipulated by the community-based tourism committee. We ensure that a majority of the money from each trip goes directly to the villagers and contributes to the community fund. This creates jobs to help families stay together instead of working in towns far away, and supports scholarships, youth activities, and other initiatives. There are few economic opportunities for the Moken, so if you can, rent a Moken long-tail boat to visit the island. An easy way to contribute is to purchase their hand-woven pandanus leaf mats and bracelets or their intricate model kabang boats. Don’t be tight and haggle — they are very cheap already. With the people that you see, make eye contact and smile, as you are a guest in their village, not in a museum. Also ask about the Chok Madah Nature/Culture Trail in the Interpretive Center at the Moken village, Large Bon Bay. This is an educational trek across the island highlighting Moken ethno botany, which describes many of the plants traditionally used by the Moken for everything from medicine and food to tools and boat building.
Moreover, your contribution of 50 euros will support development projects in favour of Moken located in Koh Surin and other Thailand islands through Community Fund as to address their major needs.
This itinerary promises to be a memorable experience, offering opportunities for cultural exchange, adventure, hiking, relaxation, snorkelling, swimming, birding and wildlife spotting. However
it is not fit for everyone, a willingness to adjust to sleep in simple tents on the beach in Koh Surin National Park where there are not medical facilities. Because of the climate and general lack of medical facilities, you should be reasonably fit before setting off the tour. Inform your doctor where you are going to see if there are any special concerns. However, we recommend advising that to buy medical evacuation insurance which provides for helicopter rescue on their own before starting the trip. The purpose of insurance is to provide proper coverage suited to the specific needs of Adventure Travel and in the case of an emergency case, works quickly and efficiently. The insurance should also cover accidents, health and loss or damage to the personal effects. Luggage is hand-carried at various stages in the trip for long distance. We strongly recommend you limit your weight to 15 kilos.
Thailand is a famous tourist destination while Mergui islands are still unexplored destination. After decades of isolation, the south of Myanmar is now opening up slowly. The southern part of Myanmar which is the Thanintharyi coast line is still very unexplored and a last natural frontier for you to discover. The area covers about 36,000 square kilometers of land, which includes many uninhabited islands and un-spoiled beaches, very few overseas travelers have previously been allowed to visit and travel in these areas without a special permit from the Myanmar Government.
It is advised that you following carefully a code conduct which respects local culture to avoid any hassles or unwanted troubles along your journey. In particular, avoid to show affection in public places, such as hugging, kissing etc., as this behaviour is not appreciated by local people. Visiting a Moken village will allow you to experience how this Community lives, works, relaxes and even perceives the world. Awareness of cultural differences allows you to understand and appreciate the villagers’ way of life. By respecting the local culture, you will have a more enriching cultural experience.
Please, please, please do not touch any marine life or corals while you are snorkeling. Coral is very delicate and easily broken, taking years to re-grow. Try to maintain your buoyancy to avoid damaging the reef. Wearing a lifejacket can help. Be very aware of your fins, as you may be hitting coral without actually feeling anything. Take your litter home with you and don’t remove any shells or coral. Remember, take only pictures, leave only footprints! It’s important we all do our bit to avoid damaging this paradise.
Always ask your guide if it is safe to swim before jumping in the emerald Andaman sea!
It is advised that you get onto Thailand’s time zone as soon as you leave home and try to eat and sleep on Indian time. Also, if you reach Thailand early in the day, try to stay awake – this will help the body’s internal clock to reset.
For Myanmar a passport with a minimum six months validity is required. You will obtain 28 days valid tourist visa. We recommend that you contact your local Myanmar Embassy for the most up to date information on visa and passport requirements. For combination trip Thailand & Myanmar: Please make sure you get a tourist visa with re-entry permit or a multiple entry Visa, so that you are able to re-enter into Thailand after coming back from Myanmar. Entry formalities to Mergui Archipelago are surprisingly straightforward and with few days. We can usually take care of entry details, so you need not be too concerned with the actual procedure. Valid passport copy and four recent photos are required, along with a visa fees US$ 30 for 28 days and an entry fee, currently set at US$ 80 to $130 depending on your destination and duration of stay.
The most common health problems for visitors are diarrhoea and sun-related problems. It’s important to drink a lot of bottled water (tap water isn’t safe to drink) and protect yourself from the sun.
In Kuraburi we have selected a beautiful eco-resort for 2 nights (before and after the tour in Koh Surin). In Koh Surin National park only campsite with tents (bedding is provided; electricity generated from 6-10 pm) on the beach are available at the headquarters of the Park. In Mergui archipelago you will be host on board of a boat, called MV Sea Gipsy a Burmese-style Junk. The boat was custom designed for the purpose to provide an ideal platform for snorkeling and adventure excursions and romantic overnight trips. The tastefully decorated boat features 5 comfortable open-air gazebo areas, which can be transformed into beds with mosquito net for the night time) on the main and upper deck. There are three bathrooms with toilet and freshwater showers on the main deck (lockers to securely store your belongings are on the lower deck).
Private vehicles o mini-buses with AC according to the number of participants from Rqnong to Kuraburi and from Kuraburi to Kawthaung. Kuraburi/Koh Surin National park we have arrange for a speed boat. For cruising in Mergui island of Myanmar you will be host on board of Burmese-style Junk.
The climate in the Andaman islands of Burma and Thailand is essentially tropical and temperatures remain in the 22-32C bracket all year round. The best time to visit is from November to early May, when it’s dry and generally not too windy. But recently late April has also been unreliable. These months are usually the peak season. The annual monsoons brings heavy rain from May to mid-September, making this period extremely unsuitable for beach holidays. Koh Surin National Park closes from April 30th until November 1st during the wet season.