Far from the hurly-burly of Pattaya or Bangkok, Ranong is a discreet Thai city located by the Andaman Sea, near the very South of the Myanmar border. Discreet doesn’t mean uninspiring though, and people keen on relaxation, nature and well-being will find the place worth a 1 or 2 day stopover.
The Hot Springs at Raksawarin: The Raksawarin Hot Springs are certainly the most famous attraction of the area. After a nice and short walk along the river, you will find a surprising site filled with natural hot water basins. A nice opportunity to chill and chit chat with locals who enjoy bathing there especially before and after work. Your body will thank you in the process since these particular ablutions are known to stimulate the blood flow and remineralisation. Definitely a perfect place to kill an hour or two before heading to the airport.
Ngao Mangrove Forest Research Center : Nature lovers will also be interested in the Ngao Mangrove Forest Research Center. This site which has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve Zone by the UNESCO is located 19 km far from the city center of Ranong. This mangrove forest is the birthplace and home for young offspring of many species of marine life before they’re strong enough to live on their own in the open sea, and the Center provides guided treks along the 2-kilometer nature trail to discover its special fauna and flora and say hi to the many monkeys who live there. Note that it might be a good idea to book in advance if you want to visit this wonderful site.
The Ngao Waterfall: Located in the same national park as the hot springs and the mangrove, Namtok Ngao National Park, you can also discover the Punyaban Waterfall. You may have noticed this stripe of white among the cliffs while on a boat between Ranong and one of the surrounding islands. An easy 5 minutes’ walk to the lower tiers of the waterfall will lead you along the water through a path of flowering trees until a nice stream at the foot of the falls full of crystal clear water, small fishes and crabs. While the flora is worth a visit any time of the year, the river may dry up between January and April.
The food: A fine meal is the best way to end a nice day of visits in Ranong, and the culinary options are sure to please every palate. Make your choice between Thai style seafood at Kiang Le Restaurant, a pleasant place along the river with a view of the sunset over Myanmar, delicious and cheap Chinese food at O-Cha Dim Sum or Western and Thai dishes at the Farmhouse hotel. You might as well enjoy to take a dip at the B Hotel, an affordable budget hotel with two lively restaurants and its small pool on the rooftop. Finally, Thailand wouldn’t be Thailand without its fantastic street food. Taste it at its best every Saturday in Ruengrat Road from November to April during the “Walking Street”, where people come sell everything you can imagine on the sidewalks.
Rattanarangsan Palace: ever wondered how Thai kings’ everyday life looked like during the 19th century? Perched atop a small hill in the town center, the Rattanarangsan Palace is a fairly accurate reproduction of the residence that was built for King Chulalongkorn in 1890 during his Malay Peninsula tour. It is also a museum where you can learn about Ranong’s history, see photos of the original palace and some antiques that will be explained to you in a perfect English.
For too long, humanity has neglected its environment and profited from its marvels with little consideration for their saving or renewal. Tourism is far from being an exception, especially when considering the fast increasing number of people travelling all over the world. Great efforts definitely have to be made by tourism professionals. But preserving our planet doesn’t have to consist in abandoning any idea of comfort and pleasure though. That’s why Burma Boating has dedicated themselves to developing and offering luxurious AND sustainable cruises, guaranteeing a high end level of care, safety and comfort to both their customers and their good old partners, the Indian Ocean and the Mergui Islands.
Wind and sun
By its very nature, Burma Boating is devoted to the ancestral man’s bond to the ocean. All our cruises are operated, by choice, via sailing boats, relying on the wind only to travel among the heavenly but fragile ecosystems of the Mergui Islands. The use of diesel engines is reduced to a minimum, to safely maneuver the vessels in the harbours, unlike most ocean liners which consume petrol and dump waste in the sea by the ton to say the least. Our next ally is the sun. This clean and endless source of energy is exploited via multiple solar panels on most of our boats for a large part of power needs during the cruise, and it’s not the type to hide much in this area : no risk of shortage! Our recently added Silent 55 Solar Yacht is definitely the spearhead of our fleet regarding energy and solar issues, we encourage you to have a closer look at this unbelievable yacht here
No plastic waste
Everyone has in mind these terrible pictures of giant plastic trash islands floating on the ocean, wild animals tortured by plastic straws, bags or packagings… To make things change, let’s make our own habits change first. That’s why Burma Boating signed up for the Refill, Not Landfill program which aims at developing and financing solutions to limit plastic use under all kinds of circumstances. Aboard our ships, that means no plastic bottles at all - our customers are provided with refillable bottles they can use with perfectly clean filtered water produced directly on the boat. It is a seawater recycling system called reverse osmosis with 3 different filters that has proved itself reliable over the years. Plastic straws are banned as well and replaced by natural straws, and all the food and products that can possibly be purchased from local producers without plastic packaging are welcome aboard.
The devil is in the details
Every small thing is important to lower the impact of a cruise on its environment. Did you know that sunscreen can be deadly to corals for example? Our customers will be offered natural mineral-based sunscreen that is absolutely harmless to wildlife [rereef.co]. Biodegradable soap, shampoo and household cleaning products were carefully selected to equip all our cabins and ships. Organic and fresh local food is largely privileged over processed and industrial products. Finally, a highly strict waste management will result in absolutely zero non-organic matter or object being thrown out at sea during the whole cruise.
We are proud to introduce you to our brand new ship, the SY CATRINA: this Admiral Executive 38 catamaran can accommodate up to six persons in a comfortable and luxurious amenities. Its stability and safety will offer the most untroubled trip among the marvelous secrets of the Mergui islands. Don’t be fooled by its apparently short length! The 23’ beam and the open design of its deck architecture make the SY CATRINA a very spacious 38’ catamaran. The crew - a skipper, a mate/shore guide and a chef/bartender - is highly qualified and has sailed around the area for years; no secret idyllic cove shall escape their knowledge. Get ready for unforgettable moments, landscapes and discoveries in this heavenly environment.
From 1600$/night, ideal for small families, couples or small groups of friends. Check availability
… and for our guests! On December 14th our company will actually welcome nothing but a brand new boat, and what a boat... Without further ado please meet the amazing S55 Solar Yacht, from SILENT YACHTS ( silent-yachts.com )
The solar system: silence and sustainability
This unique hi-tech beauty will be the very first of its kind cruising on Asian seas. It is actually powered with 100% solar energy, which brings considerable advantages: a minimal environmental footprint of course, but also an unprecedented sailing comfort. The S55 will sail as silently over the waves as any sailboat, but without depending on the winds, just like motor boats. Even the usual generator noises when anchored will vanish and become a memory of the past, letting the passengers focus entirely on the magnificence of Mergui Islands landscapes and sunsets.
An ergonomic layout for a luxury comfort
Highest standards of quality, comfort and service remain a priority though. Up to six guests will enjoy three luxury rooms, each equipped with air conditioning and spacious private bathrooms. A vast panoramic saloon of 40m² will welcome the passengers for meals and common recreation moments. It is of course equipped with air conditioning as well. Finally, a flybridge, some sea-beds on trampolines and some sofas near the entrance of the saloon await you for chilling and sunbathing outside. Have a look by yourself with these 360° pictures from Silent Yachts company : http://www.i-yacht.de/en/panorama-tour The long-time sea Captain of the ship will ensure the whole cruise will happen in the best safety and comfort conditions, while our crew, composed of a qualified cook and bartender, and a deckhand, will provide five star meals, cocktails and room service and cleaning.
Quality and modernity
The whole conception of the boat is focused on the combination of the latest technology regarding engines, power, hull and decks architecture and materials, and a constant concern for the well-being of its passengers. The 2 silent 30Kw motors will drive the S55 at a max speed of 12 knots as quietly as a pleasure sailboat. While the structure of the boat relies on the highest safety standards materials and was designed to offer the best reaction to the pitch, the elegant design of the wooden floors and walls, the solar panels and the high quality of the various furniture from bathrooms to beds and saloon will bring this permanent feeling of luxury and quality. This buildup of modernity and ergonomy, of hospitality expertise and sober design, of silence and security, will make a cruise aboard the S55 in the Mergui Islands the most serene and qualitative experience anyone could ever dream of. The official commissioning of the S55 will happen on December 15th 2018, follow this link if you want to know more : https://www.burmaboating.com/s55
Kawthaung is the departure point of our cabin charter cruises to the Mergui Islands. You will most likely reach Kawthaung from Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon. If you want to avoid the 25 hours road trip, there is currently one airline provider that operates daily flights between the two cities. Myanmar National Airlines has just released its new flight schedule during the period between October 1st, 2018 and March 31st, 2019.
IMPORTANT: All our cabin charter cruises depart on Saturday. Unfortunately the flight arriving on the same day at 12:35 won’t allow you to make it on time for our boats’ departure - our cruises leave from Kawthaung at 12:00 noon and guests should arrive at Kawthaung’s pier 1h30 before departure to clear immigration process / authorities check. This is why we strongly advise to arrive with the early morning flight or 1 day before if flying from Yangon to Kawthaung. You can stay the night at Victoria Cliff Hotel, which offers free transfer from the airport.
No problem on the way back though, we will always take you back to Kawthaung in time to catch a flight to Yangon on the same day. Let us know the time of your departure if you have any doubt, our boats usually take our guests back to the city at around 12.00 noon but we will make it happen earlier if needed.
Here’s Myanmar National Airways’ new schedule:
Monday /Wednesday /Friday => 11:00 - 13:40 (via TVY)
Tuesday / Thursday /Saturday /Sunday => 10:30 - 12:35 (via TVY)
Saturday (from 1st November) => 06:45 - 09:25 (via MGZ)
Monday/ Thursday / Saturday / Sunday => 13:05 => 15:10 (via TVY)
Tuesday => 14:50 => 17:40 (Via MNU)
Wednesday/ Friday => 14:10 => 16:50 (via TVY)
** TVY = Dawei; MNU = Mawlamyine (Moulmein); MGZ = Myiek
Note that Myanmar National Airlines reserve the right to change departure time until the flight day without prior notice; it is not uncommon to face a 30 minutes delay or so.
You can book directly online via https://www.flymna.com, the company accept major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, JCB). :
SGX-Catalist listed Memories Group Limited (“Memories Group” or the “Company”) and together with its subsidiaries (the “Group”), a Myanmar-based tourism-focused company, has entered into a sales and purchase agreement with Tint Tint Travel and Tours Company Limited and Freepier Limited to acquire Burma Boating business for a purchase price of Kyat 1.3 billion (approximately US$1.0 million), which will be satisfied in cash and funded by the Group’s internally generated funds (the “Acquisition”). This is Memories Group’s first acquisition since its listing in January 2018 and marks the commencement of Memories Group’s expansion plan to further build an integrated tourism platform.Read More
We might be a bit late introducing this book to you. But we just found it and feel we have to share the discovery. Marah Hardt's Sex in the Sea is much more than an informative book about marine life reproduction. It will be sure to make you blush and at times can sound like serious locker room talk.
And those who enjoy diving or snorkelling will love this actually very scientific book for its fascinating insights into the reproductive and social life of all those ocean creatures we know so little about.
Lobsters, for example, like to mate just after the female sheds her shell when she is most vulnerable. Before the female lobster "strips down" for her companion, she will visit his home and make sure she's selected a male who will be able to protect her. For lobsters, making love involves a week of foreplay and begins with the female peeing in the face of the male. For days, the female will tease the male, tickle and lick him and then again flee and play hard to get.
Hardt writes: “At the appointed time, the male circles behind her, assuming a doggy-style mount. But then, in what may be the most tender act of lovemaking in the invertebrate kingdom, he lifts her gently off the seafloor and cradles her in his small walking legs. He braces himself, with big front claws and tail pressing into the sand, and gently turns her onto her back, pulling her up toward him.”
Hardt's book is kinky at times, but a fascinating read with important suggestions for conservation and sustainable fisheries management.
Sex in the Sea; Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep. Marah J. Hardt. St. Martin’s Press. 277 pages. $26.99.
Bangkok-based photographer David Van Driessche recently visited the Mergui Archipelago and came back with these magical images of his trip to Myanmar's forgotten island paradise. Click the images to enlarge.
David (Dennis) Van Driessche hails from Belgium, where he combined his passion for tourism, photography and film by studying those subjects at university and started his career in the tourism industry in the early 90s. He has combined travel with photography ever since and has photographed destinations and hotels all over the world. In 2003, he made Bangkok his home, where he started a travel agency focusing on photography tours. He has photographed leading hotels and boutique resorts in Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, China and across Europe. www.davidvandriessche.com
Australian travel photographer Dave Tacon took some gorgeous images during his trip aboard our yacht SY Meta IV and he has kindly given us permission to share them with you. We love those pictures as they truly capture the beauty of the Mergui Archipelago and the dreamy sensation of sailing on a traditional wooden boat. Take a look for yourself!
We still have a few cabins available before this sailing season comes to an end and we're offering them at a special rate: Book last-minute and join our 5-night/6-day Mergui Sailing Adventure with a 15 percent discount if you are one who can make a fast decision.
We are soon to set sail for an exploratory trip to the Andamans and we're very excited about this! 1200 km from mainland India and 700 km from Thailand, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the most remote spots on the planet. The original inhabitants are various aboriginal tribes who exist more or less secluded from the rest of the world. Some of the 600+ islands that form the archipelago are home to populations whose contact is limited to sightings from the rare passing yacht.
In India's popular consciousness, the islands are mainly known as a former penal colony during British rule where rebels and freedom fighters as well as hardened criminals were imprisoned. Most of the inhabitants of these islands are in fact migrants from the mainland, some of them descended from the prisoners.
During World War II, the Andamans were the only part of India briefly occupied by the Japanese. While notionally handed over to Subhash Chandra Bose's Free India, in practice the Japanese held the reins of power. The territory was run brutally — suspected resistance members were tortured and executed, and when food started to run out towards the end of the war, people were deported to uninhabited islands to fend for themselves as best they could.
This is the plan: We'll leave from Ranong (Thailand) on March 20 aboard our new catamaran SY Meltemi. After two and a half days of sailing and about 450 nautical miles we will reach Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. We will spend the next 6-7 days exploring the islands, snorkelling, diving and getting to know the region before we head back and reach Thailand again on April 1st.
This is an exploratory trip and our first cruise to the Andamans, so there is no fixed itinerary and not much more we can say right now - except this: We have one cabin left for this adventure! The charter rate will be about EUR 2,500 per person.
If you would like to join, please send an email to co-founder Janis Vougioukas (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fill the form below.
Many of our guests have never been on a yacht before. As a trip on a sailing yacht is very different to a stay in a hotel or on a cruise liner, we asked Myanmar's famous cartoonist Kyaw Thu Yein to help us explain.
Most sailing yachts have a strict shoes-off policy. Sand and street dirt can destroy the wooden decks and little stones are unpleasant to sit or lie on.
A yacht has to carry its fresh water supplies, which are limited. Some larger boats have water makers which turn sea water to fresh water. However this process requires a lot of energy, so we ask our guests to keep showers short.
The sea is our world and we like to keep it clean.
There is no need to be shy if you have a question, the crew members are happy to help where they can.
Paper and rubbish can easily block the toilets and wastewater tanks on a yacht. In the Mediterranean, many yacht charter companies have to ask their guests to avoid eating olives - the small stones can break the pumps (not sure why some people seem to swallow them).
It is good etiquette to save electricity and to switch off fans, lights and the air-conditioning when not needed. Yachts generate power with their engine or generator but most sailors like to avoid the extra noise.
Fires are extremely dangerous aboard a yacht. For that reason and out of respect for other guests, smoking is only permitted in certain areas on deck.
Sailing looks more difficult than it is. Try it out, your crew will be happy to explain if you ask.
... not only to protect the equipment, but solar panels can also be quite slippery.
Keep in mind that a sailing boat plays with the wind. And the wind plays games with you if you don't use enough pegs.
Salt water in closed environments can cause an unpleasant smell, so please don't wear wet swimming clothes inside the yacht.
Tipping your yacht's crew at the end of the trip is common practice if you were happy with their service. We usually recommend a tip of USD 10 per day and per guest for cabin charters.
The cartoons are published in the leaflet "Life on a Yacht" which is part of the information material our guests find in their cabins.
The schooner SY Sunshine is the third 'sister' built to the design drawn up by the famous naval architect William Fife Jun. in 1900. The original Sunshine (1900) - and its first sister ship "Asthore" (1902) - were built by the Fifes at their yard in Fairlie. Both vessls changed names several times, with Asthore also being called Sunshine for a long while. The original Sunshine was built for a local gentleman, Glen F. McAndrew of Largs Castle in Scotland, whose house was close by the Fairlie yard. In 1906 she was in the possession of the Portuguese Royal family, during which time she was called "Maris Stellis". These schooners were predecessors of the legendary yachts "Susanne" and "Cicely".
In 1901, Yachting World published an article about the launch of the schooner Sunshine:
"She was designed by William Fife Jun. and while intended for a cruiser, she looks, with her long overhangs, small but powerful underwater body, strong and well turned bilge, and extremely roomy deck, every inch a modern racer. While Sunshine is not exactly like any boat ever designed by Mr. Fife, in the absence of a drawing it will give a pretty fair idea of her to say that she is an enlarged and improved edition of those pretty and speedy little schooners Helen and Geisha , which were built at Fairlie a few years ago. Sunshine is a very handsome boat and cannot fail to be a speedy one."
Construction of the reborn Sunshine began in late 1999. She was launched in 2003 and then shifted to the fitting-out-berth. In October 2004, the Myanmar Shipyards officially handed her over at a gracious ceremony fit for a super tanker and away she sailed for a maiden cruise through the spectacular uninhabited islands of the Mergui Archipelago and on towards Phuket, Thailand.
Her hull is Dutch marine grade A steel, and she has been built under the strict supervision of a Lloyd's surveyor, to Lloyd's SSC plan approval. Yangon was chosen for the build as the facility at Myanmar Shipyards is highly suited to the job. In Myanmar, one can still find building and handicraft techniques that are as close as it gets to the skills originally employed in the Scotland of the early 20th century.
Although there are many survivors in the cutter category, few classic schooners still exist today, and Sunshine was built with that thought in mind. It was probably in the early 1900s when the design of sailing ships and yachts were at the height of their evolution, just before steam and diesel engines and racing rating rules began to interfere with the purity of their original function and beauty. Looking into the future, it is likely that there will be a reduction in the numbers of original vessels, due to the high and ever increasing costs of maintaining these rare remaining vessels.
Read more about Sunshine.
We're excited to announce that SY Capricorn will be joining the Burma Boating family in the coming year. The beautiful classic gulet will set sail from Thailand in the coming days. Capricorn is not yet listed as part of our fleet on our website, but here is a 3D sneak preview tour for you.
Capricorn is available for both private charters and our 5-night cabin charters in Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago.
6 days sailing round the Myeik Archipelago on this boat has been out of this world. We've been so lucky to step foot on some of the incredible protected islands seeing them in their raw natural beauty. Massive thanks to the amazing crew from @burmaboating for looking after us and making our adventure so special! #sailing #Myanmar #adventure #islandhopping #burmaboating #escape #holiday #boatlife