EXPLORE THE UNEXPLORED
Be the first to set foot on the islands ‘beaches and the last one to desert the islands again.
We will take you out to the Northern part of the Mergui Archipelago to explore the unexplored islands together. The northern part of the Mergui archipelago is one of the least visited places on earth and a true hidden gem that is yet to be explored by tourists.
Be the first to enter the waters and be amazed by the biodiversity it has to offer. We offer a unique experience to explore above and underwater terrain in an area that is rarely visited by tourists. We highly value the uniqueness of this undiscovered terrain and focus on providing a pure and undisturbed experience for both the explorer as well as the local habitat and inhabitants.
Our operations are eco-friendly and support local researchers to help protect and stimulate the natural habitat.
The Mergui Archipelago offers visitors the chance to see native tribes, untouched tropical forest and a wealth of wildlife. With more than 800 tropical islands, mountainous island terrain, jungles teeming with wildlife, waterfalls that tumble directly onto white sandy beaches, pristine coral reefs, populated by hunter-gather tribes who live a nomadic live style on the waters of the archipelago and no tourists around, this area offers a unique experience.
Due to isolationist policies foreigners were kept out of the area preserving the area to its current natural state. However, since 1997 the access into the Merqui Archipelago has become possible. Today a small handful of licensed operators offer yacht charters in the southern area of the Archipelago bordering with Thailand.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The flora and fauna of the Merqui Archipelago has never been properly surveyed.
A preliminary survey in the 1930’s by the forestry department of the British colonial government listed the following residents in the islands: tiger, leopard, bear, elephant, rhinoceros, wild boar, sambar, barking deer, tapir, mouse deer, flying lemur, gibbons, macaque monkeys, sea otters, pythons, cobras, crocodiles, monitor lizards, leatherback turtles and hawksbill turtles. Much of this wildlife remains undisturbed to this day.
The bird life is equally prolific and unusual. Great flocks of noisy hornbills fly past every dawn and dusk. The jungle covered islands are home to the exotic “bird of paradise”, parrots and tiny sunbirds. Around the shorelines you will find reef egrets, sea eagles, brahminy kites, fish owls and nocturnal night herons who catch fish for a living.
A ban on logging in the Mergui has prevented the widespread deforestation that is common elsewhere in Asia. As a result, all of the islands are covered in thick jungle with majestic stands of Burmese Teak, Mahogany, Pandak, strangler figs and other indigenous vegetation. Most beaches are backed by trees that tower to over 150 feet tall. Overhead, there is the constant cacophony of birds and small animals feeding in the forest canopy. The beaches are covered in animal tracks – the only human footprints in sight are the ones behind you. Jungle walks in this area, while demanding, are also very rewarding, with glimpses of the elusive wildlife and superb views through the forest of the deep blue ocean beyond.
THE INDIGENOUS MOKEN TRIBE
The indigenous people of the Mergui Archipelago are the Moken (also known as Salones). These gentle, peaceful people are a source of complete fascination to anthropologists as they still cling to their traditional nomadic, hunter-gatherer existence despite attempts to settle them in permanent villages. Traditionally the Moken do not fish. They are hunter-gatherers mainly living off shellfish collected in the inter-tidal zone. They also free dive for shellfish and sea cucumbers, sometimes going to amazing depths ballasted by large stones tied to their waists. The Moken also occasionally hunt wild boar and small deer in the forest with the aid of their dogs.
Each Moken family group lives on a flotilla (ban) of traditionally built wooden boats (kabang). Each member of the family also has their own personal dugout canoe that they use for foraging. When the Moken move from island to island, these dugout canoes are towed in a long chain behind their kabang.
When sailing through the area you will occasionally see the Moken people, pulling into a nearby beach in their flotilla of boats. Adults, children, cats, dogs, chickens and ducks leap off each boat and rush into the jungle to forage. Suddenly, at some hidden signal, people and animals come rushing back out of the forest and jump on the boat just before it leaves for another anchorage. Their arrivals and departures seem random and follow no obvious pattern of time or tide.