Here you will find an introduction to the best Burma / Myanmar Dive Sites all within easy reach from Phuket
Burma Myanmar Dive Sites Overview
The Mergui Archipelago in the South of Myanmar (Burma) is made of more than 800 Islands occupying roughly 36,000 sq. km. The islands vary in size with some larger than Phuket, and others just rocks barely visible from the surface. The islands are mostly uninhabited and unexplored. However in 1997, the Islands opened to Scuba Divers for the first time. Diving in Burma / Myanmar is still very special as not many people have ever dived these dive sites. You could be one of the few people in the entire world that has dived here.
The Burma Myanmar Dive Sites can only be dived by Liveaboard boat and there are still only a handful of operators diving these sites. As such it is common not to see another diving boat on your whole trip.
The Moken or Burmese Sea Gypsies
The islands are actually the home of the nomadic Moken people, also known as Burmese Sea Gypsies. The Moken roam the Andaman Sea in their fragile canoes. In fact, they are one of the last people groups in the world to still live a largely nomadic life on the seas. These families go from island to island not setting foot on land except when the seas get rough during monsoon time. Their small flotillas are easily identified by the distinctive “boat pitched roof” which makes up the last ½ of the boat. And which also make up their sleeping quarters. Not only that, but their few possessions, which can include chickens and even pet dogs, live here too.
Their knowledge of the sea, passed down from generations to generation, enables them to live off the sea. They simple tools such as nets and spears to get food, and are excellent Freedivers. It is fairly normal for a Moken child to hold their breath for 4 minutes.
What are the Dive Sites like? Do I have to worry about blast fishing with dynamite?
The Burma Myanmar Dive Sites here are tremendous but there are some signs of environmental damage. The main threat has mostly need from trawling and blast fishing with dynamite. This is now “officially” banned by the Myanmar authorities. Thankfully we have seen a notable improvement in recent years. However, on a Burma Liveaboard there is a chance that you will hear the odd blast. However, even though the Burma Myanmar Dive Sites that are occasionally bombed. Soft corals, Anemones and Sea Fans usually survive undamaged.
Please note: Dynamite fishing, once a major concern, is no longer a major issue at Burma Myanmar Dive Sites
The corals and underwater terrain is often quite rugged, but you are normally rewarded with some big fish. These are usually various Sharks and Sting Rays. There are also some of Big Pelagic Fish such as Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. Macro lovers can also expect to see a huge variety of Nudibranchs, Frog Fish and Harlequin Shrimps. In addition to Ornate ghost Pipe Fish and Sea Horses to name a few.
Liveaboard Diving to Burma / Myanmar
Most Liveaboards leave from Phuket / Tab Lamu. Additionally, as the distances involved are large, the top dive sites are sometimes more than 100km apart. The Liveaboard Trip may also dive the Similan / Surin Islands as part of the trip. So you could actually get the best dive sites of Burma, The Similans and Surin. However, whilst the marine life is similar to that of Thai waters, there are many differences and the number of dive boats is very small compared to Thailand. Consequently a typical Burma Liveaboard trip would usually be between 4-10 days.
An entry fee is charged by the Myanmar authorities, which at the time of writing is $200 USD and 1,600 THB/person. And you enter via Kawthuang (known to Thais as Ko Song, meaning “Second Island”) or by its colonial name of Victoria Point. Additionally the $USD notes must be clean, crisp, not folded, non-marked & therefore immaculate bills. If they will quite simply not accept them.
Please note that your passports are held by the Myanmar authorities for the duration of the trip. And as such are returned to you when you exit Myanmar waters.
When exiting Myanmar your dive operator normally allows you to enter Kawthuang for a couple of hours whilst the boat is re-fueled and paperwork completed. This gives you a chance to pick up some souvenirs and Duty Free.
Burma / Myanmar Dive Sites Liveaboard Diving
Indepth Dive Centre is not affiliated to any Liveaboard Operator and as such we have impartial view. Consequently, we believe we offer some of the best unbiased advice for finding the best Liveaboard for you individually. Whether it is your budget, current certification level or concerns about your level of experience.
After working for almost 20 years with these Burma Liveaboard Safaris we have gained an invaluable amount of experience about which boats are suitable for which people. And additionally, which dive sites will give you the best chance to see the marine life you have always to dive with.
Remember: Not all Dive Boats are the same. Please feel free to talk to us we know the business and we are here to help you get the best possible Liveaboard experience. Any Questions, queries, comments or ideas send them to us we will get back to you as fast as we can.
If you are looking for something different and have the time available, you really need at least a 7-day trip to get as far North as Black Rock or Little Torres Island. Then you will not be disappointed ...