There are over 800 beautiful islands making up Myanmar’s Mergui archipelago and yet, despite opening up more and more to tourism, the region remains relatively undiscovered. One adventurous boat that has already made the trip is the S/Y Dunia Baru, a 51m Phinisi built in Indonesia and owned by US entrepreneur Mark Robba. As he puts it, ‘It is not tricky at all to visit Myanmar - the most important thing is to have the will and a taste for adventure!”
Being so undiscovered, the region is largely unspoilt, with an impressive array of flora and fauna, from thick tropical rainforests to thriving turquoise waters. The Moken, fishing and free-diving sea gypsies still live in the area and divers can expect to see frogfish, grey reef sharks and ribbon eels, amongst others. Popular charter spots include the National Park of Lampi Island, Cock Comb Island’s heart-shaped lagoon and the lush Great Swinton island.
Cock Comb Island
Owners keen to make the trip might want to take Robba’s advice when it comes to preparation – with neighbouring Thailand playing a key role. “Cruising permits and visas are needed,” he says. “There are many Phuket based agents that can handle this for you and while it does cost a few thousand dollars it is very much well worth it. Upon crossing into Myanmar waters you must immediately check into Kawthaung for customs and immigration clearance. Typically, the Phuket-based agent will have a representative there to make sure this all goes smoothly. In addition, in Kawthaung you must also take a government guide - the one we had was extremely pleasant and we enjoyed having him on board.”
Logistics aside, it’s fair to say that Robba’s first experience of Myanmar back in March has won over his heart. "Our first experience there earlier this year was incredible," he says. “It is so beautifully remote, you feel like you are cruising in a lost world. During our seven day trip we only saw one other yacht and a few fishing boats!”
Dunia Baru in Myanmar Bay
Such is his enthusiasm for the region that he has already made arrangements to charter the boat in the country from December through to March. The boat, despite being traditional in look and feel, has all the modern conveniences on hand for up to 14 guests – from broadband Internet and satellite TV, to a well-stocked toy garage with jet skis, paddles boards and excellent dive facilities.
“Myanmar proved a wonderful experience for my family and friends and we are very much looking forward to returning in 2017. We would also strongly urge others to take the time to visit this mystical country before it changes and tourists discover its beauty.” Time to book that charter?
Dunia Baru is available for charter starting at $13,500 per day plus tax - excluding port fees, cruising permit and visas. This is an all inclusive price including fuel, food, wine and spirits. Central Agent: 37South email@example.com