After arriving at Dawei airport and transferring to your hotel, explore the old colonial town of Dawei. Formerly known as Tavoy, it was one of the first settlements of British Burma, and it retains a legacy of colonial era buildings, old merchant houses and stucco mansions, and a mix of Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Hindu residents. As well as a bustling market and Chinatown street, the quiet and clean town is known for its clay pottery workshops, longyi-weaving and cashew-nut processing. Sunset from a viewpoint overlooking the lush countryside completes the day in Dawei.
After an early morning visit to the gleaming Payagyi pagoda where locals, pilgrims and monks come to make offerings, we set off on the 250 km journey south from Dawei to Myeik, which takes around 5 hours on a newly improved road. Formerly off-limits to foreigners for overland travel, the route passes subsistence ethnic minority villages, fields and plantations of coconut, betel nut, cashew and rubber, and climbs through uninhabited rolling hills, the border with Thailand close but inaccessible. We stop along the way, and at the halfway point for lunch, at Palaw, famous for its fish products and local handicrafts. We continue south towards Myeik, with rest stops and time to visit rice paddies, farms, palm oil production, teak plantations, and hamlets along the way to see up close how locals live, far from Yangon and modern urban development.
We arrive in Myeik in the late afternoon, and go directly to your hotel to check-in and have refreshments, with the option of venturing out along The Strand to orient yourself to the relatively bustling nautical city of Myeik, home to quarter of a million inhabitants.
Myeik sits on a peninsula beside the Andaman Sea, its safe harbour and strategic location means it has been an important port for international trade for over 500 years, including for the East India Trading Company in the 17thcentury. With a large fishing fleet and busy port, Myeik is the regional processing hub for fish, harvested pearls, bird’s nests, timber and rubber. After breakfast we explore the main and backstreets of this fascinating town, which had a multi-cultural population with descendants of Chinese and Indian traders as well as Bamar, Mon and Moken (sea gypsy), and diverse buildings including Sino-Portuguese houses, colonial mansions, mosques, churches, and traditional wooden homes – making Myeik one of the best-preserved cities in SE Asia. In the old quarter we visit the 150 year old Royal Pearl Trading shop, then to an extensive fish market featuring a wide array of the sea’s bounty, including lobster, tuna, swordfish, squid and soft-shell crabs, and go to a riverside wharf and dockyard where wooden fishing boats built and maintained for their Andaman Sea activities.
In the afternoon we take a traditional wooden boat across to Pahtaw island, the closest island to Myeik, with a large crab farm and a hollow reclining Buddha lined with tiny Buddha figures, for panoramic views from the small island’s hilltop pagoda of Myeik and the outer islands. Back in Myeik, we view the collection of old monasteries on Thain Taw Gyi road, said to rival Sagaing in beauty, on the way to sunset views over the Andaman Sea.
After breakfast at the hotel, you are free to relax or soak up the atmosphere and energy of Myeik, until your transfer to the airport for your onward flight (to Yangon or Kawthaung, for those going on an Island Safari cruise aboard the Sea Gipsy, to Boulder Island Eco-Resort, or crossing to Ranong in Thailand).
Please note: Southern Myanmar is seldom visited by tourists. The region is undeveloped, with limited infrastructure, and we request your understanding and a flexible attitude as some services and facilities might not meet the expectations you have for developed tourist destinations.
The itinerary is subject to change, depending on road and weather conditions, flight times, room availability and other circumstances that may arise.
Q – 1 :What currency do you use in Myanmar? What is the current exchange rate for that currency against the US Dollar?
Ans :The local currency used is called Kyat (pronounced “chat”, abbreviated as Ks). The currency exchange rate is around 1,500 Kyats against the US Dollar. This rate is of September 2019. You can see an updated rate at www.xe.com.
Q – 2:During travel in Myanmar, will I be able to use my credit cards? If so, what types of credits are commonly accepted? If not, what types of currencies should we bring?
Ans :Currently, credit cards are generally accepted in Myanmar. We advise you to bring enough US Dollars for your travel, accommodation, shopping and dining expenses. Some travel agencies and hotels may accept but you have to check with them before you arrive.
With few exceptions, you should only rely on VISA and Master Card. Only up-market shops and hotels will accept these as way of payment. Most of the time, you will use your credit card to take out local cash currency.
It’s absolutely imperative that your US dollars appear BRAND NEW. Literally the slightest shadow of a crease, a mark from a pen or any kind of blemish will immediately render your money useless. Over the years, thousands of tourists have had to leave Myanmar earlier than planned as a consequence of not heeding this advice!
Please also note that US dollars will be accepted as payment at your hotel and for flight tickets, but whenever you go to a regular restaurant, shop or market, only local currency is accepted.
Q – 3:How much should I bring for within country travel?
Ans :The amount of US Dollars you should bring will depend on your length of stay and which part of country you will be traveling. You are welcome to contact us at Myanmazing if you would like some help to calculate your specific need.