Myanmar (formerly Burma) is located in Southeast Asia. Its southern and southwestern parts are washed by the Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Martaban and the Andaman Sea. Its coastline is nearly 2,000 km long. Tourists come to this uncrowded place to enjoy the pristine beauty of the depths of the sea. Prolonged isolation of the country is quite handy because Myanmar still hides many jewels not yet touched by a human. Over 800 islands are scattered in Myanmar's waters.
Divers will find rich underwater flora and fauna here. Local waters are inhabited by small tropical fish, lobsters, Murray eels. Strong currents will excite drift divers. And thrill seekers can swim with sharks. Local waters are home to 9 shark species, including whale sharks, spiny dogfish, grey and reef sharks. Some of them can be dangerous.
The Mergui Archipelago has some of the best places for diving. It includes the Burma Banks which are 15 to 22 meters deep, they are famous for a great variety of coral formations. You can discover 300 kinds of fan-shaped, pillar-like and mushroom-like corals, as well as gorgonians and Alcyonaria. The region is known for strong currents, and drift is the most popular type of diving here.
Fans of wall diving can polish their skills near the Black Rock and Western Rock. The place is full of vertical coral gardens and underwater caves inhabited by fascinating nurse sharks, octopuses, moray eels, spiny lobsters and tropical fish.
Until recent, diving in Myanmar has been available only to participants of diving safaris organized by Thai clubs. Now, the Myanmar coast has its own diving clubs- Myanmar SubSea divers and The Similan Diving Safaris- with English speaking staff. They offer equipment rental and organize diving in various locations.
The air temperature in March and April reaches +29-32 °С. May brings rains and oppressive heat. The wind is strong and there are quite a few storms during this time. The water temperature is about +26-28 °С.
Summer is the wet season in Myanmar. Rains start by nightfall and may last for a few days. It is hot and muggy. The sky is cloudy and the air warms up to +40 °С.
It still rains in September and October, and the weather is hot. The water temperature reaches +30 °С, but poor visibility and frequent storms restrict diving. The end of October brings clear and dry weather.
Winter in Myanmar is dry and comfortable, and it is the best time for diving. Practically no rains and the sea is quiet. Water visibility reaches 50 meters, and the air temperature is around +26 °C.
High Rock is a cliff with a lonely tree at its top. Fans of underwater photography come here for beautiful reefs with high biodiversity represented by Indo-Pacific sergeant fish, flying fish, moonyfish, manta rays and dolphins.
Drift divers will surely enjoy the Black Rock. You will float along with the current and see manta rays, reef sharks, blue-ringed octopuses, cuttlefish and rare species of moray eels.
The healthcare system in Myanmar is not very developed. The country has only state medical facilities; all private practices have been nationalized. A trip to Myanmar will require vaccinations against malaria, hepatitis and tuberculosis. There's a danger of terrorist threats, such as an ethnoreligious conflict, which happened in the western part of the country in 2012-2013. The theft rate has risen due to economic difficulties in recent years. It is better to have an experienced guide when visiting local attractions.
The Andaman Sea is inhabited by beautiful but venomous Pterois and dangerous tiger, reef and white sharks. When swimming in the Bay of Bengal, be careful of venomous box jellyfish, bright Portuguese men-of-war, blue-ringed octopuses, sea snakes and cone snails.
The local cuisine is very similar to Indian and Chinese. It uses rice, soybeans and various spices. Fans of exotic dishes may try grilled sparrows, smoked oxtails, grasshoppers and bamboo worms. Those who prefer more convenient cooking, can taste Wettha Thayet Thi Chet, which is grilled pork with fruits and vegetables (most often avocado), and Mohinga, a fish soup with noodles and curry. Another tasty dish is Khmit Chin Khin soup with shrimp and bamboo shoots.
As for drinks, you should definitely try palm liquor and punch. Tap water is not safe in Myanmar. It is recommended to drink only bottled water. Some hotels offer it for free.