FAQs: Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago

What is so special about Myanmar?

The country is in the most exciting time of its history, as it emerges from decades of dictatorship and isolation into a new dawn of democracy.

Why go to its Mergui Archipelago?

It is truly one of the world’s forgotten tropical paradises. Until 1997 it was closed to outsiders, and there is still only one small resort on all of its 800 islands. Its beaches are astonishingly beautiful, the lush rain forest is home to a rich array of flora and fauna, there are some great snorkeling sites and a fascinating indigenous culture - the Moken, a disappearing tribe of nomadic seafarers.

Where does the trip start and end?

Ranong, Thailand.

How do I get to and from Ranong?

There are nonstop flights from Bangkok to Ranong with Happy Air http://www.happyair.co.th/ (from Bangkok’s international terminal) and Nokair http://www.nokair.com/nd (from Bangkok’s domestic terminal.) There are also regular connections by bus and mini van (6-8 hours)

Do I need visas for Thailand and Myanmar?

Yes. You will get a visa on arrival in Thailand for which there is no charge. For Myanmar, your visa will be issued in Kawthaung, on Day 2 of the trip. You will also require a special permit to enter the restricted Mergui Archipelago. Visa regulations are changing frequently, and we will advise you a few months ahead of the trip start date on the most update to formalities and the steps you need to take. However you can expect the permit and visa to come to about US $300.

Where could I stay before or after the trip?

We will provide you with some suggested hotels in Bangkok and Ranong, and for a quiet beach stay we highly recommend Phayam Lodge on Koh Phayam Island, which is a 45 minute boat ride from Ranong. More info on Phayam Lodge...

What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?

A reasonable level of fitness is required, and you should be able to swim. The kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and snorkeling are all suitable for beginners. We will also be doing some gentle hikes.

What is the food like?

Our mothership will serve a variety of western and Thai dishes. We can easily cater for vegetarians.

Do I need any special insurance?

Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance and to make sure that the Trip Cost is covered.

Do I need vaccinations?

Your routine vaccinations (tetanus/diphtheria, polio, etc.) must be up to date. Another general precaution for travelers anywhere in the world is a hepatitis A and possibly a typhoid vaccination. If you are travelling into South East Asia from a country with a risk of yellow fever virus transmission, you will need to provide proof of yellow fever vaccination. For those countries, see the Center for Disease Control's list of countries with risk of yellow fever virus transmission

What about malarial medication?

In rural areas of Burma there is the risk of malaria, so it is advisable to take malarial medication. Please consult your local travel clinic or physician about this. As there is also the presence of dengue fever (transmitted by mosquitoes) in Burma, it is advisable to also opt for transmission protection (long sleeves/trousers, and regular applications of DEET insect repellent). Sensible precautions should ensure you do not get bitten.

What does the trip price cover?

Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all guiding and equipment, SUPs and relevant equipment, all accommodation in hotels and on board the mothership and meals.

What does the trip price not cover?

International and domestic flights, airport transfers not on the first or last days of the trip, visa fees, park fees and permits ($300 as mentioned above), alcoholic and soft drinks, personal insurance and gratuities.

How can I access cash when I'm on the trip?

You will not need Burmese currency on the trip, however you will need some US$ to pay for your visa fee and park fee on the Burmese border, and it is VITAL that these are brand new notes, with no creases, stains or marks. For paying for drinks on the mothership, and for tips to the crew, you will need Thai Baht, which you can obtain from ATMs in Bangkok Airport and in Ranong.

What clothes and equipment will I need?

When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.

What can I bring that would helpful to local communities?

As a group, we will be donating medical supplies for malaria prevention. You could collect reading glasses that have been discarded or you may source them cheaply. These are highly appreciated and can really change people’s lives.

I'm travelling alone. Is that a problem?

Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with new-found friends. To reserve a cabin on the mothership for yourself we would require a Single Supplement of 50% of the Land Cost.

What about accomodation and pricing?

Land Cost varies depending on which cabin you choose. Cost per person based on double occupancy is as follows. The two master cabins (each with one single and one double berth): $5150 per person. The larger double cabin (one double berth): $4890. The smaller double cabin (one double berth): $4790. The basic double cabin with 2 single bunks: $4590. For the cost of triple occupancy of the master cabins, please enquire.

Hidden Places Travel
Box 318, 185-911 Yates Street
Victoria, BC, Canada V8V 4Y9
Phone: 1 250 589 9844 / 580 3480
Toll Free: 1 877 830 8747