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Myanmar islands near Ranong


patgom15

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My husband & I are thinking of driving from Koh Lak to Bangkok. We are thinking of going to the Myanmar islands near Ranong has anyone any information of how to get there, if it is safe to go there and general information?

Thanks

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  • 2 months later...

Not sure if you have already gone, but here's some advice. You can enter Myanmar at Kawthoung with either an e-visa (this is the best method) or you can get a limited travel visa on arrival for US$10, which allows you to stay for 14 days I believe. The latter option doesn't allow you to go very far outside of Kawthoung though.

 

In terms of islands, it really depends where exactly you want to go, as there are some restrictions. The best way to go is via a live on board boat based out of Phuket. In that case, you won't need an e-visa as the boats have a special arrangement with Myanmar immigration. Otherwise, there are some expensive tours out of Myeik, north of Kawthoung. You can find out more information on www.southernmyanmar.com. Also try www.go-myanmar.com or contact travel agents based in Ranong for more details.

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Hi Jimster. I'm not the OP but I was about to open a new thread with a similar inquiry. I was thinking of going to horse shoe island or Bruer island from Rayong. That being the case will I cross immigration at some point, and therefore need a visa and a re-entry permit? (I am currently working in Thailand.)

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1 hour ago, alien365 said:

Hi Jimster. I'm not the OP but I was about to open a new thread with a similar inquiry. I was thinking of going to horse shoe island or Bruer island from Rayong. That being the case will I cross immigration at some point, and therefore need a visa and a re-entry permit? (I am currently working in Thailand.)

I see an island that looks like a horse shoe on Google Maps, I guess that's the one you mean. According to a sign on nearby Pulo Ru (Grand Andaman island) which is where the Grand Andaman casino is located it's 41km from there to horse shoe island. The sign is in Thai and English yet I understand Pulo Ru is actually a Burmese island. So I guess it should be possible to go to horseshoe island from Kawthoung seeing how close it is from there but it's a little unclear from the information I have as to what the best procedure is to get there.

 

If possible, I would suggest getting in touch with a Phuket or Ranong based travel agency for more information. I know people who have been to the area years ago (I have just been to Kawthoung) but since the rules are constantly changing it's a bit hard to say what the rules are now with regards to the islands. I believe some can be visited without a permit or even Myanmar visa (this includes Grand Andaman island) while others can only be visited as part of a live on board from Phuket or on special excursions from Myeik or Kawthoung.

 

Whether you get a short term on arrival pass or use a Myanmar e-visa or embassy issued visa to enter Kawthoung, you will need a re-entry permit for Thailand to retain your work visa and work permit.

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7 minutes ago, jimster said:

I see an island that looks like a horse shoe on Google Maps, I guess that's the one you mean. According to a sign on nearby Pulo Ru (Grand Andaman island) which is where the Grand Andaman casino is located it's 41km from there to horse shoe island. The sign is in Thai and English yet I understand Pulo Ru is actually a Burmese island. So I guess it should be possible to go to horseshoe island from Kawthoung seeing how close it is from there but it's a little unclear from the information I have as to what the best procedure is to get there.

 

If possible, I would suggest getting in touch with a Phuket or Ranong based travel agency for more information. I know people who have been to the area years ago (I have just been to Kawthoung) but since the rules are constantly changing it's a bit hard to say what the rules are now with regards to the islands. I believe some can be visited without a permit or even Myanmar visa (this includes Grand Andaman island) while others can only be visited as part of a live on board from Phuket or on special excursions from Myeik or Kawthoung.

 

Whether you get a short term on arrival pass or use a Myanmar e-visa or embassy issued visa to enter Kawthoung, you will need a re-entry permit for Thailand to retain your work visa and work permit.

Thanks Jimster, I'll get the wife to inquire with Grande travel who are the ones who were advertising the trip. I am really hoping that i can visit the smaller islands in Myanmar without the hassle of a visa and re-entry. If I do need to jump through a few hoops I may decide to go to a Thai island instead and use the money on an extra night or two. Ko Phayam or further south like Ko Kradan spring to mind

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I was just doing a bit of digging and found this Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/twinbeachmergui on Bruer island, which is one of the few islands in the Mergui archipeligo that offers accommodation. It is also located right on the maritime border with Thailand, just north of the Mu Ko Surin marine national park.

 

It appears that one needs to depart from a private pier at Ranong (just like the Grand Andaman Resort and Casino) and then the boat will take you first to Kawthoung immigration before proceeding to the island. If you're only staying in the vicinity of Kawthoung (including visiting the islands you mentioned), then the US$10 border pass should be sufficient. I believe you can spend up to 14 days on this pass though some people are saying it's only 3 days and 2 nights as was the case back in the early 2000s when I went to Kawthoung.

 

It's very straightforward to get a re-entry permit and then either a border pass on arrival or even an e-visa for US$50. A little bit more hoops to jump than just heading for a Thai island like Ko Phayam admittedly, but it's also more of a unique experience. From what I just read Bruer island has only recently opened to tourism and looks pristine. Just don't think about going during the rainy season between late May and mid-October but any other time should be fine.

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31 minutes ago, jimster said:

I was just doing a bit of digging and found this Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/twinbeachmergui on Bruer island, which is one of the few islands in the Mergui archipeligo that offers accommodation. It is also located right on the maritime border with Thailand, just north of the Mu Ko Surin marine national park.

 

It appears that one needs to depart from a private pier at Ranong (just like the Grand Andaman Resort and Casino) and then the boat will take you first to Kawthoung immigration before proceeding to the island. If you're only staying in the vicinity of Kawthoung (including visiting the islands you mentioned), then the US$10 border pass should be sufficient. I believe you can spend up to 14 days on this pass though some people are saying it's only 3 days and 2 nights as was the case back in the early 2000s when I went to Kawthoung.

 

It's very straightforward to get a re-entry permit and then either a border pass on arrival or even an e-visa for US$50. A little bit more hoops to jump than just heading for a Thai island like Ko Phayam admittedly, but it's also more of a unique experience. From what I just read Bruer island has only recently opened to tourism and looks pristine. Just don't think about going during the rainy season between late May and mid-October but any other time should be fine.

Friends who have previously obtained visa's for Myanmar mainland went to Bangkok to do theirs which I found a bit off-putting, but my search online showed that an e-visa was possible. A $10 border pass would be ideal as I don't have any intention to go to the mainland just yet. I am keen to try the Myanmese islands mostly because I expect them to be more peaceful and untouched. Fingers crossed I can get out there before the rainy season starts. Thanks again for your comments.

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4 hours ago, alien365 said:

Hi Jimster. I'm not the OP but I was about to open a new thread with a similar inquiry. I was thinking of going to horse shoe island or Bruer island from Rayong. That being the case will I cross immigration at some point, and therefore need a visa and a re-entry permit? (I am currently working in Thailand.)

IF u go to Kwathoung and want to go anywhere more than 5 kms from town u need a visa, (not then $10 pass- 3 days max) 14 days is a visa exempt entry for ASEAN members.
get it online for $50.

You  will 100% need a re entry permit ( 1,000 baht for single entry) or u will lose ur extension.

The long tails boats charge 50 baht/seat across each way.

 

IF horse shoe island or Bruer island is in Myanmar, u will need legally enter with visa.

seems they have a fb page,https://www.facebook.com/pages/Horseshoe-Island-in-Myanmar/267203440361326?hc_ref=ARRT0qvfLQT_c9sG5k8_NBPmnwi-yi8xlvkZiN_KxUSXQH3fmTV9H4K2jy_WxqKzmiM

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Several years ago I put out some big bucks for a week on a live-aboard dive sailboat, touring and diving the Mergui archipelago. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The further out you go from Kwatoung, the more remote and pristine if feels,  "peaceful and untouched" is what you get, and my personal feeling was that I never knew there could be so many fish in the sea and so many stars in the sky. We caught and cooked up fish, shrimp and lobster, traded goods with sea gypsies, dove caves and walls, saw whale shark and much more. That was like the second year that foreign dive boats were permitted in to Burma waters and so there wasn't much boat traffic. I don't know what it's like now. But do it if you can. 

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Thanks guys. I'm getting the impression that I should up my budget and stay a bit longer. I was initially thinking a quick getaway, but maybe a bit longer is needed while it is still relatively unknown.

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6 hours ago, drtreelove said:

Several years ago I put out some big bucks for a week on a live-aboard dive sailboat, touring and diving the Mergui archipelago. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The further out you go from Kwatoung, the more remote and pristine if feels,  "peaceful and untouched" is what you get, and my personal feeling was that I never knew there could be so many fish in the sea and so many stars in the sky. We caught and cooked up fish, shrimp and lobster, traded goods with sea gypsies, dove caves and walls, saw whale shark and much more. That was like the second year that foreign dive boats were permitted in to Burma waters and so there wasn't much boat traffic. I don't know what it's like now. But do it if you can. 

in 1988 i did a 1 month exportation dive trip on a catamaran out of Phuket with the, then, Burmese navy with us.

Dove, mapped places that had never seen humans, also visited some islands where only sea gypsy's lived and others where we were chased off with Ak 47's

You can still see whale sharks and schools of Giant manta rays, IF ur a diver, do a 3-4 day dive trip, ( although the last trip has already gone for the season), Worth the money<<<<

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  • 2 months later...
On 4/3/2018 at 5:47 PM, phuketrichard said:

IF u go to Kwathoung and want to go anywhere more than 5 kms from town u need a visa, (not then $10 pass- 3 days max) 14 days is a visa exempt entry for ASEAN members.
get it online for $50.

You  will 100% need a re entry permit ( 1,000 baht for single entry) or u will lose ur extension.

The long tails boats charge 50 baht/seat across each way. 

 

IF horse shoe island or Bruer island is in Myanmar, u will need legally enter with visa.

seems they have a fb page,https://www.facebook.com/pages/Horseshoe-Island-in-Myanmar/267203440361326?hc_ref=ARRT0qvfLQT_c9sG5k8_NBPmnwi-yi8xlvkZiN_KxUSXQH3fmTV9H4K2jy_WxqKzmiM

But definitely not for Thais who need a visa to enter Myanmar overland. Exceptions are for limited travel near the border and returning the same way where only a border pass is necessary, with each border having different rules and validity period.

 

Are Vietnamese and other ASEAN visa exempt nationals really able to avail themselves of the 14 day exemption travelling overland? Back in 2015 or so they were, but then the Myanmar government abruptly stopped this and stated that only airport arrivals can arrive without a visa and they must also leave by air. This has been confirmed by a Myanmar immigration contact. He also mentioned a Burmese citizen arriving in Bangkok by air who wanted to cross from Mae Sot to Myawaddy but was prevented by Thai immigration because the rules are reciprocated for Burmese entering Thailand by air without a visa i.e. must also leave by air. The person in question then illegally re-entered Myanmar and overstayed her Thai visa. No idea why she didn't just fly back especially since a return ticket is obligatory. A dumb lady indeed.

 

Anyway, I wonder how long Thais on border passes can visit Kawthoung. Perhaps 1 week or 14 days? Does anyone know?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just to clarify a post above - the border pass on entry to Kawthoung works a bit differently to other entry points

$10 allows you to visit any of the islands below a certain point about 2/3 of the way up the archipelago.  You cannot go overland or visit Myeik.

But it gives you 14 days - not 3.

 

As other posts have pointed out - the evisa for $50 ($56 if urgent turnaround needed, takes a couple of hours) will get you in through Kawthoung and allow overland (or by air or sea) travel anywhere in Myanmar, and you can exit from any other border crossing or international airport in Myanmar

 

Source - I work in that area

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/5/2018 at 7:27 PM, Argus Tuft said:

Just to clarify a post above - the border pass on entry to Kawthoung works a bit differently to other entry points

$10 allows you to visit any of the islands below a certain point about 2/3 of the way up the archipelago.  You cannot go overland or visit Myeik.

But it gives you 14 days - not 3.

 

As other posts have pointed out - the evisa for $50 ($56 if urgent turnaround needed, takes a couple of hours) will get you in through Kawthoung and allow overland (or by air or sea) travel anywhere in Myanmar, and you can exit from any other border crossing or international airport in Myanmar

 

Source - I work in that area

OK so better to get an e-visa than an on arrival pass if you are intending on heading anywhere other than Kawthoung, the area up to a little north of the airport and islands near Kawthoung by boat, such as Bruer island and the casino island where Thais and expats go to gamble.

 

If you apply for an e-visa during working hours, you'll get it within a couple of hours at most for US$50. You only need to pay US$56 for the urgent visa if you apply during weekends, holidays or in the middle of the night and need an urgent visa. I have never waited more than an hour for a tourist or business visa, if applying during working hours and paying the normal fee.

 

Overland travel from Kawthoung is allowed now at least with a visa. Indeed I have heard boats have stopped. However, I wouldn't recommend overland travel from Kawthoung to Myeik during the rainy season as the roads may be impassable. North of Thanintharyi to Myeik and beyond is fine year round.

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Boats stopped end of dec 2015,  was lucky as was able to travel Dawei-Myeik- Kwathoung on the public boats before they ceased running.

Bus on a good day Kwathoung-Myeik is over 14 hours  ;-( ( vs what was a 7 hour fast boat ride)

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On 7/29/2018 at 2:27 PM, phuketrichard said:

Boats stopped end of dec 2015,  was lucky as was able to travel Dawei-Myeik- Kwathoung on the public boats before they ceased running.

Bus on a good day Kwathoung-Myeik is over 14 hours  ;-( ( vs what was a 7 hour fast boat ride)

I see. Well even if there were still boats, they wouldn't be running during the rainy season anyway as there is an almost complete shutdown of activity on the entire Myanmar coast during the wet season. Most beach side hotels are closed and it's not difficult to understand why - when the rain starts around late May or early June, it literally doesn't stop until early October. It's not like in Thailand where you have a couple of showers and then the sun starts shining again.

 

The Kawthoung-Thanintharyi section of the Kawthoung-Myeik highway is reportedly in quite poor condition with some sections being dirt, thus they can become almost impassable during the rainy season. So until they upgrade that highway, traveling to these parts of southern Myanmar during the rainy season is quite a bad idea. Flying might work, but flights aren't daily and frequently get cancelled due to weather this time of year.

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