Myanmar is one of the most underrated countries in Southeast Asia, and the Mergui Archipelago off the south coast is undervalued even by the locals. The archipelago on the Andaman sea consists of 800 islands, some of which are so small that you have zoom all the way in to realize their existence.
Despite the spectacular marine life and wildlife on the islands, tourism remained underdeveloped until the late 90s because of the Burmese Civil War. It was after 1997 that the islands were born from their ashes.
There is no denying the potential here, especially in terms of diving tourism. Yet, the region is largely unexplored. Planning a trip to this hidden backyard of Myanmar takes a lot of courage, so you should be proud of yourselves. Still, you might be wavering between the places to stay in the Mergui Islands. This article aims to give you an unbiased comparison between the best Mergui Island resorts and hotels.
Wa Ale Island Resort
It all started when two ex-pats in Myanmar fell in love with the Mergui Islands. So, they wanted to immortalize their passion by building Myanmar’s first eco-friendly luxury resort, Wa Ale. It is one of those excellent hotels that gives back a lot more than it takes, with a minimal carbon footprint. Built near the Lampi Marine National Park, Wa Ale represents conscious tourism in Myanmar through the Lampi Foundation created to conserve the wildlife.
The motto of Chris and Farina Kingsley is Barefoot Luxury Meets Bohemian Chic. To elaborate, you will stay in tented beach villas or tree houses, but still in uncompromised luxury. Both types of accommodations sleep from 2-4 people and come with air conditioning, private verandas, indoor and outdoor showers, kingsize beds, and the internet.
Eco-conscious travelers, people who like non-motorized water sports, couples, families, travelers interested in endangered marine life.
The resort was built inside the Lampi Island Marine National Park that comprises a unique flora and fauna. Lambi Island is one of the very few places on the planet to have dunes, tropical rainforests, coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds all in one place. As a result, it has long-become a mecca for rare species, such as dugong, leatherback sea turtle, Bengal slow loris, lesser-mouse deer, wild boar, giant black squirrel, and Sunda Pangolin.
- Diving and snorkeling at the reefs around Lampi Island
- Kayaking among mangroves on the crystal clear waters of Lampi River
- Joining guided tours to explore the wildlife at Lampi Island Marine National Park
Click here to fill out a reservation form, send inquiries, find out about the prices, and what is included/excluded.
Boulder Bay Eco Resort
Here is another excellent example of the eco-resorts in the Mergui Archipelago. Boulder Island is one of the most remote islands of an already-remote archipelago. Built on such a precious location, the resort has a lot of responsibilities on its shoulders. That’s why the resort’s team is committed to not only provide a constructive environment for tourists but also to preserve that environment.
All the bungalows were built using renewable resources. In the meantime, the research facilities in the complex keep exploring new marine species, and new ways to reduce the carbon footprint. You will also find a multipurpose pavilion used for various occasions, from glamorous weddings to silent yoga retreats.
The bungalows in Boulder Bay Eco Resort are convenient but straightforward, keeping it at a bare minimum to create a sense of serenity. The private beach on Eagle Bay is central enough to enable airport and shuttle transfers but far from the tourist crowds and the noise. Walking out your front door for a few steps to the waves swashing at your feet is priceless.
The resort offers free breakfast, diving tours, WI-FI in public areas, and yoga workshops.
Yoga enthusiasts, eco-friendly travelers, travelers interested in water sports and marine life, couples, honeymooners.
Boulder Island gets its name from its rugged terrain that consists of hundreds of giant boulders. The diversity of the landscape also gave way to mixed vegetation that attracts endangered bird species like White-bellied Sea Eagle and Brahminy Kite.
Being the most remote of the inhabited islands of the Mergui Archipelago, the water is extremely clear. All these factors combined, Boulder Island is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to go hiking or kayaking
- Sea Canoeing around the island, making stops at various scenic and secluded beaches
- Jungle treks between Eagle and Moken Bays, with opportunities to swim or snorkel at the end
- Romantic boat cruises around the island
- Snorkeling that reveals the hidden marine life, from sea urchins to clownfish
- Eco-discovery walks around the coral reefs at low tide
- Yoga retreats and workshops
All the activities can be booked here
Most of the hotels in the Mergui Archipelago offer an exclusive diving scene, but Awei Pila takes it one step further. About a year ago, the luxury accommodation in the Mergui Archipelago initiated its scuba diving center.
Today, the diving center offers PADI level courses and takes diving enthusiasts on excursions nearby. Speaking of which, have we mentioned that there are 12 diving sites only in the immediate vicinity of the resort’s beach?
Awei Pila is nestled on the northern tip of the Pila Island, in an isolated corner. You will open your eyes to the azure waters of a 600 meters-long beach, under the shade of the exotic virgin forest. Whether you are in the mood for indulging in adventurous sports or delving into the lives of local fishers, Awei Pila handles all types of demands perfectly.
The luxury tents are all designed with lightweight timber and fabric, providing excellent insulation. The neutral and earthy colors both inside and outside help you ease into the nature surrounding you. You can book a villa either by the beach or in the forest, whichever floats your boat. The restaurant, bar, spa, swimming pool, and the reception are open 24/7 to make sure you get your money’s worth at any time of the day.
Travelers who want to get professional diving training, lazy beach bums, culture vultures, adrenaline junkies, and lovey-doveys.
Pila Island is one that has been the subject of myths. It was believed that the island was part of the mainland Myanmar; however, it got drifted apart by a devastating flood according to the legend.
Being home to the nomadic Moken Seafarers, Pila Island is considered the cultural hub of the Mergui Islands. They live a semi-nomadic life as hunter-gatherers, living mostly on their hand-crafted boats and earning a living by catching fish. It is thanks to them that Awe Pila is able to offer you freshly-caught seafood that you won’t find elsewhere.
- Diving excursions to Awe Pila’s diving sites such as Rocky Island and Shark Cave
- Kayaking and snorkeling around the island to discover the coral reefs and the exotic marine life
- Dolphin-watching on luxury-yachts
- Visiting the Moken Village to interact with the so-called sea gypsies and have a traditional meal with them
- Hiking trails through the virgin forest
Click here for the full list of activities and to book your preferred activity.
Click here to fill out an inquiry form and proceed with your reservation.
In this article, we tried to cover three of Mergui Archipelago’s accommodation options. While all three of them are charming in so many ways, you can still recognize slight differences between them.
Wa Ale Resort is the best of the three options in terms of wildlife exposure. Lampi Island National Park is home to extraterrestrial-looking animals that you won’t see around the other two places.
Boulder Bay Eco Resort is ideal for people wanting to turn inward and practice mindfulness on a secluded beach to cleanse the soul. The resort will definitely intrigue you if you are interested in the science behind the ecosystem here.
In Awei Pila, Mergui Island, the hotel’s activities have a more significant emphasis on diving and culture. Of the three of Mergui Island’s places to stay, Awei Pila has the best scuba diving classes. Also, if you want to engage in the locals of the archipelago, the facilities of Awei Pila is intertwined with the semi-nomad communities.
No matter which of the three you choose, disappointment is off the table.
The closest airport to the Mergui Islands is Kawthaung Airport. All the three best hotels in Mergui Islands arrange airport transfer, which is included in their prices.
The best time to visit is either between November and April, where the temperatures are more tolerable and the rainfall is minimal.