Myanmar (Burma) - Profile
- Burma has been officially known as the Union of Myanmar since 1989. Restrictions on tourists are being eased, following the example of Vietnam and Laos, to bring in foreign currency. The gradual opening of the country to foreign visitors has also seen an increase in the number of cruising boats allowed to enter although the total of the fees involved is very high.
- The southern part of the country is the most attractive cruising destination and is easily accessible from Phuket. The Thai Similan archipelago can be visited en route before making for the well sheltered Kawthaung (Victoria Point) harbour, which is only 150 miles from Phuket.
- The Mergui archipelago, which stretches north from Kawthaung for some 200 miles, offers unlimited cruising possibilities among the hundreds of islands and cays. After being off-limits for decades, in recent years the authorities have permitted Thai-based dive companies to operate cruises there. After years of isolation the wildlife on sea and land is particularly rich; the islands are inhabited by the nomadic Moken people. However, one should check the latest situation as tensions do remain along the Thai-Myanmar border.
- Facilities for yachts are practically non-existent. Only simple repairs are available, especially where there are fishing boats. Fuel is only available in the larger ports. Fresh produce is widely available.
The Rakhine State on the NW coast has seen serious ethnic violence in 2012, with over 100 people killed and more than 4000 homes destroyed in clashes between Buddhist Rakhines and Rohingya Muslims. This northern part of Myanmar should be avoided.
The NE monsoon, from November to February, is the best time of year to visit. February to May is hot and dry. Most rain falls during the SW monsoon, from May to October.
Brunei Bay Radio operates a regular voice broadcast sked of METAREA and local coastal forecasts for SE Asia waters, the NW Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean. For details of Brunei Bay Radio broadcast skeds and frequencies, see http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrschfvoice.htm
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.