Small ship cruising in Myanmar travel guide
2 MINUTE SUMMARY
Myanmar – also known as Burma – is opening up to visitors, but it’s little known as a destination for small ship cruising and sailing. But in some areas, taking to the water is not just the best way to explore, it’s the only way! The Mergui – or Myeik – Archipelago in the remote south, for instance, consists of 800 mostly uninhabited islands, scattered across 250 miles of the Andaman Sea. Boarding a boat is the only means of getting here, before swimming to shore to find pristine beaches backed by dense rainforest where the tracks of monkeys, crabs and lizards are the only footprints on the sand. This is a unique landscape, home to the seafaring nomadic Moken people, currently unspoiled but definitely vulnerable. Now is a good time to go, and sailing on a small yacht with just a few other travelers is the most responsible way to access this mysterious and extremely beautiful part of the world.
Our small ship cruising in Myanmar travel guide has all the details.
Is a small ship cruise in Myanmar for you?
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Small ship cruising in Myanmar
What do these trips entail?
How big is a “small” cruise ship?
In Myanmar, cruising is on a very small scale. Luxury ships with around 40 cabins cruise the Irrawaddy River, but the Mergui Archipelago is typically explored on a catamaran. These are around 16m long, with space for a maximum of eight travelers, plus the skipper, chef, a deckhand and local guide. This style of yacht is designed to keep sleeping areas to the absolute minimum, while maximising common areas. Which brings us to the next question…
What are the cabins like?
On a catamaran, cosy is probably the best description – but that’s kind of the point! This isn’t a classic cruise, it’s an authentic adventure on board a real yacht, with twin/double cabins and a bathroom for every four guests. Don’t get hung up on square footage, though – you’ll be living outside mostly, lounging in a hammock on deck, swimming or exploring the islands. Cabins are just for crashing out in at the end of the day. Or just sleep on deck!
Can I travel solo?
Absolutely. Small ship sailing in Myanmar brings together people of all ages from around the world and relies on friendly, on-board camaraderie. You’ll have a ready-made friendship circle for the whole trip, just be prepared to share a cabin. Usually, the skipper will allocate rooms and single travelers will be paired up with another passenger of the same sex. Surcharges for private cabins are usually available, however.
What’s the deal with meals?
Food is a high point on this kind of vacation, with an onboard chef preparing three meals a day for you. Typically, they are Asian dishes, including curries, but fresh fish is on the menu every day, too. The Mergui Archipelago is very undeveloped, so popping out to restaurants isn’t an option; a barbecue of freshly caught fish on a white sand beach is though.
Will I get seasick?
Unlikely. The simple reason is that you sail with the coast on your right, to the east, and the winds come from the northeast across the land, so the sea doesn’t get whipped up or choppy.
Can I travel with my children?
Most sailing vacations have a minimum age, typically 15, which would prevent all but senior teens from joining.
How is this kind of vacation responsible?
Traveling on a yacht or catamaran is, by definition, a small group trip, with typically room for just 12 people per vessel, thus reducing the environmental impact stopping off at islands can have and the waste produced. In addition, when conditions allow, you’ll be harnessing the power of the wind to travel from A to B (although the motor may be used for around 50 percent of the time). Food prepared during the trip is generally sourced locally before setting off, with fish caught fresh every day using a line or spear gun. The boat is equipped with solar panels, which is where most of the power on board comes from, and water makers, which turn sea water into fresh water, keeping the use of plastic bottles to pretty much zero.