Charter Sailing on the Fringe... Myanmar's Coast

Now here's a wild charter idea that has never crossed my mind...sailing off Myanmar's coast. From today's New York Times Explorer section by Miki Meek:

"I arrived on a chaotic pier in the border town of Ranong, Thailand feeling as if I was about to throw up as I watched three-story fishing boats chug by. I had persuaded my two younger brothers and eight girlfriends to fly across the world and pool a large chunk of money so we could charter a live-aboard boat. The plan was to sail for six days through the Mergui Archipelago, a chain of 800 islands off Myanmar’s coast that’s become the holy grail of sublime, empty beaches.

It sounded simple enough. But I had major, gut-wrenching anxiety because this trip, which cost us almost $10,000 in cash and wired funds (not including the cost of the flights there) was so off the grid that it couldn’t have been organized by a mainstream outfitter that would have sent a representative there an hour in advance, holding a piece of cardboard aloft with our names on it. I was on a pier waiting for a man I didn’t know to take me on a boat to another boat that we would live on.

The feeling that you’re winging it is only natural for this sort of journey. While the number of foreign travelers to mainland Myanmar has jumped nearly 30 percent over the last year, this mostly uninhabited region spread out over 250 miles in the Andaman Sea has remained on the fringe because of government restrictions and a lack of detailed travel information, even in the most recent guidebooks. Only tour boats with special permits and a government minder are allowed in..."

Read the full article here.

And below, you'll find a short little video I found on YouTube, unrelated to the NYT article but same place.