Monday, 10 February 2014

Too soon

Onwards we flew to the coastal town of Myeik, in Southern Burma. Our plan was to find a way onto the neighbouring archipelago of islands so we headed to the jetty. Greeted by red mouthed locals chewing betel nut and spitting we were told that foreigners were not allowed to go to the islands. One thing we've learnt so far is to never accept one persons advice. So we tried the local ferry company, enquiries were hampered by language limitations. Furthermore neither party had a map of the area, us because Lonely Planet had not got there yet, and them because the locals knew where they were going already. After the third boat company also said that the government did not allow foreigners to visit the islands we finally admitted defeat. We were disappointed that the last leg of our journey in Myanmar to visit these beautiful islands turned out to be a dead end. We were trying to follow the old Spanish proverb 'traveller, there are no roads, roads are made by walking' but access restrictions meant we were too early on the scene to go galumphing about the islands. We did find a way to tour some of the islands with a diving company living onboard a yacht, but at £1000 each for 3 nights we decided we could wait a little longer to see this amazing, untouched archipelago. 

Accommodation costs were steep down south so we decided to cut our losses and head to Thailand. We travelled by the speedboat ferry to Kawthoung, passing through the islands we desired to see, our compensation was a blurry view through dirty, smeared windows. Despite the bad visibility we could still see hundreds of islands covered in mangroves and jungled peaks, with huge limestone cliffs and beautiful white sandy beaches zooming past us. We vowed to return. At Kawthoung we had our passports stamped for the last time at immigration and boarded a longtail boat to Ranong, the Thai side of the Kra Buri river.

We caught a glimpse of the Sea Gypsy communities as we weaved through the archipelago

The hundreds of beautiful islands we past so tantalisingly close and yet still so far out of reach - must get own boat!!

As we approached the border Myanmar's military presence became more blatant

Farewell Kawthoung, farewell Burma, thank you

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