I didn’t have the greatest start to my Myeik adventure and was hoping to rectify that with a day out exploring the Myeik Islands. Myeik Archipelago spans the coast line of Myanmar. There are over 800 islands set in the Andaman Sea most of which are untouched. Several of the islands are home to water gypsy villages and some are just visited by boat tours, most are completely vacant.
There was 10 including me in the tour as well as 4 crew members. We were on what I would call a medium size boat. I was the only foreigner, the rest were Burmese. The tour guide spoke pretty good English but being the only English speaking person he didn’t spend much time with me which was a bummer. He mostly just gave me the basics like where we were headed next and how long it would take. I honestly didn’t mind a bit of solitude. I spent most of the day at the front of the boat taking pictures and soaking up the sun.
Leaving the harbor I was shocked again how much garbage was in the water and how brown and disgusting it was. I was praying that it got better once we got past the harbor and it did. About an hour into the ride I started to see that beautiful blue-green water I was craving. The sky was blue and you could see all the islands as we rode along. We rode past a few water villages that were so fascinating with their tiki style houses set up on tall pillars right against the water edge. I was wondering what that living was like during the rough monsoon season in the area.
We passed several boats hauling anything and everything from people to motorcycles to furniture and food. We also passed many boats fishing and shrimp traps. Shrimp traps are made of bamboo and are little floating structures I’m assuming with nets under water. Very fascinating for sure.
Our first stop was a waterfall on the edge of an island. It cascaded through rocks and created a pool at the bottom for swimming. While I was up taking photos two girls asked to take pictures with me because I’m famous. Obviously. Check out my video here.
Next stop was a water gypsy village where we ate a lunch of fresh caught seafood. We had rice, sautéed vegetables, crab legs, fish, squid, octopus and other Burmese favorites. I got a fresh cut coconut which was so refreshing. After lunch I walked through the village and played soccer with the kids in the sand.
Our guide took us through the gypsy village. The other Burmese people in my group brought food and candy for the families. My guide then told me that it’s a part of their culture for the wealthy to bring food for the poor. I was empty handed and felt like an asshole. The village was so fascinating with all tiki style homes. Many of the children run around naked and my guide told me that they used to all be naked before tourism started bringing people there. There were so many dogs. All of the same breed as is usual in Asia. One was infected or had a disease of some sort on its back and I felt so terrible for it. I wished someone would put it out of its misery.
After the water gypsy village we went to a completely deserted island which had a beautiful sandy beach on one side and a rocky beach on the other side. The sandy beach had huge volcanic looking rocks jetting out of the sand and creating little coves of water. The rocky beach was so gorgeous with the multi colored rocks and the bright crystal blue-green water. We went swimming in the luke warm water and then dried ourselves out in the hot sun. Check out my beach compilation here.
Our last stop was a snorkeling spot with gorgeous coral reef. It was just me and two others who decided to snorkel. There was so many multi colored fish, I could get lost for hours swimming along with them. The coral reef was amazing with different little caves and life forms growing all over them. My snorkel was seriously malfunctioning so that sucked but regardless, snorkeling was my favorite part of the day.
As we were headed back we hit a storm. At first I wasn’t paying attention because I was looking out the back but then turned and noticed straight ahead were all black clouds. Then came the thunder and lightning. I thought this was great and all I could do was laugh, get excited and started filming. Thank god for a water proof GoPro! Then it started to rain. We had a cover on the boat but the rain was so intense that we were we all drenched and huddling in the middle of the boat. The two other woman on the tour were older and looked so frightened. I felt bad for them and here I am laughing. Maybe it was a nervous laugh, I don’t know. We had to slow the boat to a basic crawl because the driver couldn’t really see in the rain. Makes sense. Then we ran out of gas. Luckily they had backup on board but we had to stop and refill in the middle of the sea in a thunder storm. What should have taken 2 hours to get back took 3 and a half. Check out my storm video here.
When we made it back safe and were in the van on our way to the hotel I announced that “we’re alive” and started clapped my hands. I don’t know if they understood me but they all laughed and started clapping too. I didn’t create one lasting relationship on this boat tour but definitely bonded with these people through this trifling experience. On my way to dinner I saw one family from the boat in the hall and they all bowed to say hello with a smile as if we were old friends.
The islands of the Myeik Archipelago are stunningly beautiful. It was so amazing to see the way that these sea bearing people live. I want nothing more than to spend weeks visiting and exploring these vastly untouched islands. Even though my first impression of Myeik was not good and the ending to my boat tour not the best, I would hands down suggest visiting the beautiful island oasis.
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