Simply charming

Myeik (formerly Mergui) is a fascinating town located along Tanintharyi region’s Andaman coastline. The least visited of Burma’s southern destinations, it’s a town of interesting contrasts and one that is likely to change enormously in the coming years. The town boasts a sprinkling of isles on its horizon while the town itself is geographically up and down and round and round. It’s home to fantastic old colonial period architecture, yet displays a building boom the likes of which we haven’t seen elsewhere south of Yangon.

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Myeik — occasionally pronounced Beik (‘make’ or ‘bake’ with an Australian accent) — has quaint, atmospheric old quarters and a pagoda with harbour views that Kipling could have written poems about. But it also has busy streets choked with new motorbikes and flashy cars. There’s even a chic shopping centre that many provincial Thai towns would be proud of. Thailand lies across 80 kilometres of rugged mountains to the east, while Kawthaung is 440 kilometres south and Dawei another 250 kilometres or so to the north.

Meet Myeik port. : Mark Ord.
Meet Myeik port. Photo: Mark Ord

We reckon Myeik rivals Pathein as Burma’s friendliest town. A 10-minute stroll will see you saying, “Mingalabar!” 100 times while taking a seat in an outdoor cafe will invite a steady flow of locals asking for photos. This will change – Mawlamyine used to be like this – and with the huge potential of the archipelago and improving overland routes north and south, Myeik is going to go places.

Wander the waterfront and admire the non-stop action of the packed port, stroll around the lake, meet the locals in an old town tea shop and write some sunset prose from a hilltop pagoda. Otherwise Myeik doesn’t hold too many things to do as such, but it is just one of those places where it’s great to ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,100 words.)

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