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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    Sumocakewalk's Avatar
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    Myanmar to Develop Mergui Islands as Tourist Destination


    Untouched islands as far as the eye can see in the Mergui archipelago. (Bangkok Post photo)


    The view from the beach at Kyun Pila, aka Great Swinton Island. (Bangkok Post photo)


    A village on Nyaung Wee island. (Bangkok Post photo)

    Bangkok Post / DPA
    May 25, 2015

    YANGON Myanmar will give the green light to new hotels in its southernmost archipelago by the end of the year, officials say.

    The largely unspoilt Mergui archipelago comprises 800 islands in the Andaman Sea, just off the continental coast.

    "The region has a lot of potential to be a new tourism destination as most of the islands are untouched and have coral reefs," said Sai Kyaw Ohn, deputy minister for hotels and tourism. "We hope these can attract eco-tourists and divers."

    Some 27 local companies and joint ventures are awaiting approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission for new hotel and resort projects on the islands, he said.

    "We hope MIC will allow all 27 firms to set up hotels and resorts by December," he said. Two joint ventures have been already granted approval to build resorts on the islands. Those developments would see five hotels and motels with 196 rooms by the end of 2014.

    Among the residents of the Mergui archipelago are about 2,000 "sea gypsies," known as Salons in Myanmar and Moken internationally, a nomadic ethnic minority who live in boats and are thought to have migrated there from southern China around 4,000 years ago.

    The archipelago was only opened to foreigners in 1996.

    Last year, only 2,612 tourists visited the islands, according to data from the ministry of hotel and tourism.

    Environmental groups have urged the government to establish and observe environmental guidelines, although they recognised the development benefits for the area.

    Myanmar to develop Mergui islands as tourist destination | Bangkok Post: news


    The circle indicates the approximate area of the archipelago and may not accurately cover the entire group of islands.

    Just over the hill from where I am in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Too bad the border crossing at Singkhorn Pass will only let Thais and Burmese through.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    Sumocakewalk's Avatar
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    Further reading for those that are ecologically / environmentally minded:

    Bangkok Post : Mergui Archipelago tourism rush raises alarm

  3. #3
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    Phuketrichard's Avatar
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    spent a month back in 1988 on a live aboard mapping out spots for diving,
    some fantastic places and will be a hit for divers

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
    Exit Strategy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumocakewalk
    Myanmar will give the green light to new hotels in its southernmost archipelago
    I wonder if the generals will get their share of revenue there like in Yangon... (if you have ever wondered why hotels are so expensive there... I usually have to pay king's ransom for decent room that in Thailand would cost just as much as usual nice room)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sumocakewalk
    The region has a lot of potential to be a new tourism destination as most of the islands are untouched and have coral reefs
    I wish they would get rid of the generals first and then develop it in environmentally sound way, could be not just real earner but great destination for the country.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
    Munted's Avatar
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    This is part of the plan to open the country up to foreign investors. It would be unrealistic to expect the corrupt generals to not extract as much from this as they can. Will be a rerun of Pattaya in the making of. Pity that a picturesque backwater is being set up for as yet another example of the perverse "values" of the international money-mongers. Only big players with sufficiently deep pockets to bribe the generals need apply.

  6. #6
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    mate of mine used to spend months on end in Kho Payam, in that region but Thai said of the border, said it was heavenly..

  7. #7
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    Chinese Navy Bases in Burma

    The main naval bases are located at Akyab, Bassein, Yangon, Syriam, Moulmein and Mergui. A number of smaller bases and anchorages are scattered along Burma's shoreline and offshore islands, such as Great Coco Island.

    In May 1988, Wilson John writing in The Pioneer reported that India had gathered crucial evidence of Chinese naval officials working on at least nine Myanmar naval bases and Chinese vessels visiting certain islands close to the Indian coastline to monitor signal communications. Senior Government officials said they have the specific number of PLA naval engineers and operation officers posted at the Myanmarese naval bases. The discovery of this substantial Chinese military presence close to the Indian shore came at a time when both the Chinese and Myanmar governments had flatly denied setting up a signal monitoring station at Coco Islands near the Andamans.

    The new evidence of increased Chinese activity in Myanmar naval bases strengthened India's suspicions about Beijing's intentions. Naval experts cautioned that China might pose a long-term threat to India's maritime security. Senior officials in New Delhi said the Chinese have been quietly building the pressure by sending vessels to intercept Indian signal communications. Two such vessels had visited Munaung within the Danyawaddy naval regional command, Yan Ria and other islands in October and December 1997 and January 1998.


    With Myanmar’s consent, China operated a maritime reconnaissance and electronic
    intelligence station on Great Coco Island and built a base on Small Coco Island in the Bay of Bengal. China helped Myanmar modernize several naval bases as a means of extending its power into the region. Moreover, Indian authorities claimed that China helped build radar, refit, and refuel facilities there to support further Chinese naval operations in the region in the future.

  8. #8
    Fresh Seaman CaptainNemo's Avatar
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    That's old news mikem; things are a little less friendly now: China Stages Military Exercise Along Myanmar Border | The Diplomat
    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar...china-20130324

    My main concern is not so much Burmese generals, as parasitic ethnic Chinese and incoming Singaporeans cashing in on Burma's development.
    As Daw Aung San says herself, Burma needs British and EU input to help it up and to also learn from the mistakes of its neighbours.
    I don't think Burmese see themselves as part of China's crypto-imperial hegemony, and can equally court India, Britain, and the EU, and have less regional, more international outlook, which is in their own best interests.

    A chap I know is trying to raise funds to keep a project for sustainable tourism alive down there: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/c...ipelago#/story
    Something I myself might help with.

    Burmese academics in marine science need this kind of stuff, and it would be nice if the oil companies would inject a little CSR money into the local universities in Myeik, Mawlamyaing and Bassein.

    On the plus side, if you look at the pollution round there, a bit of tourism mightn't be the worst thing in the world to make the locals treat their environment a bit better.
    Last edited by CaptainNemo; 28-06-2015 at 12:14 PM.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1F2i0rYMj8

    we are all figments of our own imagination.

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