In the past, Burma has had a rough reputation due to its very unstable political situation. Burma Diving Safaris were not even possible 10 years ago. Today, however, Burma is seeing great forward progress—Hillary Clinton visited the country in 2011, the first time an American Secretary of State visited the nation in fifty years, and many of the worst oppressive practices of the government have been eliminated.
Years of political, social, and geographic isolation have left Burma a largely untouched underwater utopia. The Mergui Archipelago, located along the southern coastline of the country, consists of over 800 different islands, among which are some of the world’s most pristine dive spots. This means almost no divers, no other dive boats, hundreds of sites to choose from and all of it from your Burma Diving Safari boat.What do these advances mean for you? Simple—straightforward access to some of the best diving in the world!
Another benefit of such isolation: lack of other divers. In other prime destinations you can feel like you’re cruising an underwater social club; in Mergui, chances are the only people you’ll see down there are your liveaboard compatriots. (Burma diving safaris mostly take place on liveaboards, since many of the best dive spots are far afield and access to many of the islands in Mergui is restricted.) The sheer size of the dive area works to you advantage too, as there’s plenty of room to spread out. When you find a site you like, just kick back and dive a few times.
The same is true of the islands above the water. With hundreds of islands and only a few officially inhabited…this means beaches that are miles long and not a footprint on them. Primary jungle runs right to tidelines and there is nothing to see for miles but beach and jungle. It is truly amazing to experience places like this – they do still exist!
What do you see on Burma Diving Safaris
So what will you find in Burmese waters? Tons of flora and fauna, including many creatures that you won’t see in such great numbers anywhere else—think sharks aplenty (grey and reef, as well as immense whale sharks), massive manta rays, and tons of exotic crustaceans. The animals on land are no less exotic; wild pigs, monkeys, and colorful birds hide among the mangroves, while more wild reports speak of tigers, elephants, and Sumatran rhinos lurking in the shadows. You may also come across the Moken, native fishermen who spend weeks or even months on their boats plying around the archipelago.
The diving is incredibly varied in Burma, with experienced divers able to explore caves, narrow tunnels, and immense walls and drop-offs. Many boats will also offer you additional PADI certifications, in everything from Nitrox to photography. That being said, Burma isn’t necessarily an off-limits destination for less experienced divers; just keep in mind that you’ll be taking three or four dives every day from a boat specifically dedicated to that purpose—you can’t just head into town for the day, or take a little hike to get off the water. If you join a Burma Diving Safaris trip, whatever your skill level, be prepared to spend a lot of time wet.
Keep in mind too that while Burma isn’t completely free of political strife, you shouldn’t let the political situation scare you away. The islands and area where you dive is far from any strife and barely inhabited. The remoteness does mean you should be very careful in choosing which Burma Diving Safaris boat…Satellite Phones, water makers, emergency beacons and staff that know how to use them are all essential. Insurance is very important as evacuations can be very costly.
Should this be interesting to you – also consider our Similan Diving Safaris