Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand.
You can arrive at any time as there are no planned activities for Day 1 in Phuket. Please check the hotel notice board for information about your transfer on Day 2, which can change at short notice.
Thailand's largest and most well-known island, Phuket has some excellent beaches and a huge array of restaurants, hotels, bars and shopping to choose from.
Hotel (1 nt)
We meet our transfer guide in the hotel lobby and then drive from Phuket north to Ranong near to the border with Burma. The drive is approx 5 hours on arrival we will have time to explore this busy border town or relax with a cold beer or a massage
Travellers are free to explore the local restaurants and food stalls for dinner tonight, as well as a taking the chance to grab some extra on board supplies.
Our hotel tonight is basic but central and close to the pier for departure tomorrow.
Hotel (1 nt)
In the morning leave our hotel for Sapanpla Immigration Pier we will move through immigration, exit Thailand and travel by long boat to board our yacht which will be moored offshore. Your Burmese visas will be processed on board the yacht by our Burmese Custom’s agent.
Once our processing has taken place we’ll set sail for Myauk Ni Island. The isolated Myeik(Mergui) Archipelago embraces at least 800 islands, many deserted, making this a region for true explorers. The islands' limestone cliffs and dense rainforest interiors meet with vast mangrove stretches and truly untouched white sand beaches.
Underwater, the scenes are just as refreshing with a diversity of marine life and stunning coral reefs.
Explore the southern beach of Myauk Ni Island and maybe try sea kayaking, snorkelling or just marvel at the natural beauty of this incredibly remote part of the world.
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Head north towards Palu Bada, a group of islands with great snorkelling. Drop anchor for the night in a protected bay and take a short jungle walk to the other side of the island.
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Sailing a few hours north to Bo Cho island and get a taste of village life. Ma Kyone Galet is the largest island village in the southern Mergui archipelago and a local community of Moken or 'sea gypsies'. Once a permanent nomadic, seafaring people, the Moken spent almost all their time floating on small wooden boats and diving for shellfish. Like many ethnic minorities in Burma, most Moken were forced to relocate to onshore sites during the 1990s.
We then set sail for Lampi Island a beautiful long white sand beach where we can kayak up a river through mangroves.
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Set sail today to Swinton Island, arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in the archipelago. This is a top spot for snorkelling and tonight we can relax, swap travel tales and enjoy the days catch around a campfire on the beach!
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Sail today to Kho Yinn Khwa Island (Maclead Island) and be dazzled again by its picture perfect beach. One of the larger islands and home to a small resort we can take a guided hike for a fabulous view across the islands (1.5 hours), The climb is steep and challenging so please bring suitable footwear for this hike (no sandals or flip flops). Tonight, take a break from eating on board with dinner and drinks at the island's resort or perhaps enjoy a traditional Burmese massage (not included).
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Sail east to Thay Yae island, and it's picture perfect, long and isolated beach. Why not kayak or snorkel in the surrounding turquoise waters? We anchor on a nearby island so settle in for one more incredible sunset and a relaxing final night aboard.
Overnight boat (1 nt)
Leaving very early, sail back to Kawthoung.
Say goodbye to your skipper and cook and travel with our guide by long tail boat and reenter Thailand at Ranong. From here transfer by vehicle back to Phuket. Travellers will be unaccompanied for this leg of the journey and the trip will finish on arrival at either Phuket Airport or your hotel of choice in Phuket at approximately 6pm.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with us. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The official currency of Thailand is the Baht (THB).
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat. ATMs are now available in most towns and visa cash advances are available in major banks. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels.
The official currency of Burma is the Kyat (MMK) - pronounced 'chat'.
The best place to change your money is upon arrival at the airport, as the exchange rate is now locked to the USD. If you need to change more money your tour leader will be able to help you to do this at the many places available, but please note that it is hard to change money outside of Yangon and Mandalay. ATM machines are now available in Yangon and to a lesser extent Mandalay. We however advise that you bring plenty of cash for your trip as the reliability of the ATM’s are still unknown, due to power cuts and the newness of the service. It is still not possible to use traveller’s cheques at this time.
You need to bring cash in US dollars. The notes should be crisp and perfect with no folds or marks and should be no older than 2006. Bring high denominations because when you exchange into local currency you get a higher exchange rate. The best exchange rates are in Yangon so it's best to try and get all your money changed there.
Carrying cash is relatively safe as long as you take the usual precautions. It's best to try and budget a daily rate and do all your money exchange on the day you arrive in Yangon. Burma is quite an inexpensive place to travel so a budget of US$40 per day for food and drinks is plenty.
Hotels will generally exchange money during office hours only. You can change money at the airport upon arrival.
You can spend US$ along the way in Burma - some places will accept it but don't rely on this. It's best to get local currency. If you have any kyat left over at the end of your trip you can change it back into US$ at a hotel, or at the airport when departing.
Both Kyat (MMK) & Thai Baht (THB) is accepted in Kawthaung (Victoria Point) and the Mergui Archipelago
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
While tipping is not a traditional part of Burmese culture it is becoming more common as tourism increases, particularly when you have experienced excellent service. If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - may be appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, and inspires excellent service. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Hotels / Restaurants: US$ 0.50-1 for porters and restaurant staff
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$2 per person, per day is generally appropriate.
Skipper / Local guides: We suggest US$2-3 per day for your skipper or local guides.
Crew: You may have a range of crew on your trip. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-2 per day for crew.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Please provide passport details at time of booking with exact name as per passport (including middle name), as these are essential for booking services on this trip.
All travellers must pay an additional US$20 a day Mergui Archipelago park fee. Please allow approximately US$200 (which should cover any unforeseen increases.)
Maximum of 8 travellers per group.
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
There is no optional single supplement offered on this trip.
Overnight boat (6 nts), Hotel (2 nts)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
The sailing part of this trip is accommodated on board a catamaran boat. Our boats are equipped with twin-share cabins, and shared bathrooms (1-4) The average size of the boat is 53 feet. Fresh water is available for showers, and toilets are either electronic or the hand pump variety. The boat is equipped with a motor for times when the wind is not sufficient for sailing. Our boats are real yachts and this is a real sailing trip. Yachts are designed to keep sleeping areas to the absolute minimum of space, while maximising common areas as much as possible.
The skipper will allocate the rooms on arrival to the boat and single travellers will be paired up with another passenger of the same sex, this may mean sharing a double mattress. The skipper will also be sharing the yacht's facilities and sleeping quarters.
While some may find the living quarters quite close, those who are looking to revel in the adventure and exhilaration of an authentic sailing trip usually find any discomfort is more than made up for by the spirit of this sailing experience.
Check out the below for a typical 8 berth catamaran floor plan. The bedding can be identified in blue. Note that this vessel floor plan is an indication only and can change dependant on the boat chartered per departure.
As tourism infrastructure is starting to develop, you may find the accommodation standards to be lower than in other Asian countries. Since Burma has recently become a popular tourist destination, pricing is also inflated due to demand, and at times our hotels can change as bookings are bumped by hotels charging a higher price to other travellers. Please be patient with any last minute hotel changes, and please be aware that often although the price of the accommodation is quite high due to demand, some hotel standards can be quite basic.
For your convenience most meals on your Burma sailing adventure are included, and will be prepared on board by the resident cook. When a meal is not included you will have the opportunity to disembark the boat and eat at a local restaurant.
6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
Tea, Coffee and Juice will be served for breakfast and drinking water will be included at all times. The following drinks will be available for purchase on board.
Beer – 50 baht
Soft Drinks – 25 Baht
Wine (white only) – 100 baht
When we visit the resort on Day 7 please budget for $20 for a 3 course dinner (not including drinks)
Private vehicle, Van, Boat
This is a sailing adventure so our time is spent on board a catamaran yacht. We do not have one fixed vessel that we will use for every departure, but instead we choose from a pool of boats in our fleet dependant on the group size. ie. a small boat for a smaller group, and bigger boat for a bigger group.
You may be asked to assist on-deck, particularly when coming into or leaving port. No experience is necessary, but getting to know some 'sailing language' might help to get you into the spirit of the adventure.
Port - left
Starboard - right
Bow - front of the boat
Stern - rear of the boat
Deck - outside, upper area of the boat
Hull - the main part or body of the boat
Keel - part of the boat under water that keeps the boat stable and stops it capsizing
Mainsail - the large sail attached to the mast and boom
Mast - the big vertical pole that supports the mainsail
Boom - the big horizontal pole attached to the mainsail, coming off the rear of the mast (swing from side to side)
Jib, headsail, genoa, foresail - smaller sail near the front of the boat
Sheet - ropes used to control the sails
Booty - another word for pirate treasure
Lines - other ropes on the boat (ropes are never called ropes on yachts)
Spinnaker - large extra sail
Trim the sails - adjust the position of the sails when the wind changes strength or direction
Tiller or wheel or helm - used to steer the boat
Helmsman - person steering the boat
Running - sailing with the wind
Tack - turning the bow of the boat when sailing through the wind
Jibe - turning the stern of the boat when sailing through the wind
Figure-eight knot - the stopper: often used at the end of lines to stop them getting away.
Bowline (knot) - strong and dependable knot that is commonly used
Clove Hitch (knot) - not as secure it is often used to attach an object to a line
On your Burma sailing trip you will be accompanied by one of our skippers and a chef. Your skipper's role involves taking charge of the sailing, organising the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip, managing trip logistics, safety of the vessel and safety for all passengers on board. All skippers have extensive sailing miles experience and hold a 'yacht master offshore license' or higher. They have been carefully selected and undergone intensive training of each itinerary they sail. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect your skipper to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. Your chef will prepare tasty local cuisine meals using the best of the local fresh produce available.
The day to day itinerary indicates that some parts of this trip will be unaccompanied and some parts will be with a local guide or local transfer guide only.
Karon Living Room Phuket
481 Patak Rd, Karon
Phone: +66 76286618
In a quiet location just outside of Karon Beach, the comfortable Karon Living Room has twin share rooms with air conditioning and private bathrooms.
Karon Living Room is located at 481 Patak Road (4028) in Karon. Located on the left hand side of the road if you are heading North it is after the turnoff to the Hilton Hotel but before the Movenpick.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Thailand Office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722 (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Burma & Phillipines) and Tel: +855 92 555 969 (Cambodia). For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week (excluding Sunday).
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: No - not required
Belgium: No - not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: No - not required
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required
If entering by air you will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival.
If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only. A visa extension can be obtained in Thailand at an immigration office for approx. 2000THB or alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate that will allow a 30 day stay when entering at an overland border.
Exception– as of 28 Oct 2013 citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders.
For this Burma sailing trip visas will be obtained by the group during the trip on arrival (at border crossing between Thailand/Myanmar).
2 photocopies of the front page of your passport.
2 passport photos.
Crisp USD for fees.
The cost of a 30 day Tourist Visa is US$30 and all travellers must pay an additional US$20/day Mergui Archipelago park fee. Please allow approximately US$200 (which should cover any unforseen increases.)
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
Space on board the vessel is very limited - for your own comfort and safety, luggage should be kept to an absolute minimum. The use of a backpack, soft sports bag or duffel bag is recommended - NO hard suitcases will be permitted on board.
Bring along a good-sized daypack as well as a light fleece and/or light windproof jacket. One towel is provided however you might like to consider bringing along an extra for swimming and outdoor use as towels are not changed during the trip. Sports shoes with light coloured soles or sports sandals are recommended while on board, while a pair of cycling gloves can be useful if you wish to participate in sailing. Snorkelling equipment is provided on board.
If your trip includes hiking or trekking, please ensure you pack comfortable shoes (preferably not brand new, as this can lead to blisters) that are fully enclosed and are comfortable for you to walk in for an entire day. Sneakers or runners should be fine, as long as they are comfortable.
While there should be electricity on board throughout your trip the voltage is likely to vary widely, from 12V to 220V, and when in port or moored we are dependent on the supply available. Please be aware that the supply may not be sufficient to power some electronic devices all the time and that you may need a voltage adapter or similar (such as portable inverter used in cars). On some trips it may be possible to charge devices ashore at restaurants or resorts, however this is not guaranteed.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Imaginative Traveller reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
WATER SAFETY AT SEA:
Travellers that are able and confident swimmers will be able to enjoy swimming & snorkelling off the boat, but please always note the skipper's advise and instructions on when and where to swim and what precautions to consider. Travellers that are not able to swim are certainly welcome on this trip, but you will be required to wear a life jacket when we are sailing.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects.
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
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