Dive The World logo Dive The World Liveaboards website banner Dive The World Liveaboards website banner
Website home>FAQs>Myanmar

Diving Burma

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I get to the boat?

All dive operators for Burma have their pick-up points in Thailand. You should fly into Phuket since departure of the boat will be from Phuket, Khao lak (Tap Lamu) or Ranong. Dive The World will indicate in your confirmation the departure location and advise you in case of any changes.

Return to the top of the page

Do I need to apply for a visa to visit Burma?

No. The boat operator and Dive The World will take care of this. You will only need to have with you before embarkation:

  • Your passport
  • 4 passport size pictures
  • 3 copies of your passport front page and Thailand last entry stamp
  • Entry fees (below) in crisp new US dollar bills

Return to the top of the page

Is there a fee to pay to dive in Burma and the Mergui Archipelago?

Read our frequently asked Burma diving questions

Yes there is a fee that varies from US$ 200-250, depending on the cruise length. It is a combination of border, diving and entry fee and must be paid in cash to Burmese authorities in new US dollar bills. We will inform you of the exact amount before you travel.

Please note that at the entry point to Burma it is not possible to buy US dollars or to change money. The fee must be handed over to the authorities before entering Burmese waters, so please be prepared.

Return to the top of the page

I have a visa for Thailand. Might I have problems coming back to Thailand?

Yes, it might be a problem. You will leave Thailand and your passport will be stamped on exit and re-entry. If you are from a country that is granted a visa on arrival then this is no problem.

If you are citizen of a country that isn't allowed a visa on arrival in Thailand then please make sure you have a visa that permits multiple entries into Thailand. We recommend you contact the Thai Embassy in your country to ensure you are in compliance with all necessary visa requirements. If you are in this category and have entered Thailand with a single entry visa or a standard tourist visa, you must apply for a re-entry permit. This cannot be done in Ranong so must be done in advance in Phuket or Bangkok. Note also that immigration offices are closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. You will need 2 copies of your passport front page and last entry stamp in Thailand or last valid visa, and 2 passport size photographs. At the time of writing the price for a single re-entry is 30 Thai Baht and for multiple re-entry it's 115 Thai Baht. However we recommend you check all the latest rules and requirements for yourself before your trip.

Return to the top of the page

Will we set foot on Burma/Myanmar during the trip?

Apart from a short stop in Kawthaung for immigration control, all of your time will be spent around the waters of the amazing Mergui Archipelago. The terms of your entry permit are restricted to just visiting and diving this region.

Return to the top of the page

Can I stay and travel in Burma after the cruise?

No, you cannot do so under the entry permit granted for the diving Burma cruise. At the end of the trip you will return to Thailand. If you wish to visit Burma you must apply for a visa at the Burmese Embassy in your country or in Bangkok. There are also specialist travel agencies for Myanmar.

Return to the top of the page

Why do you not recommend any resorts in Burma?

Liveaboard diving in Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago

Really there is only 1 dive resort in the Mergui Archipelago and staying there will limit your diving to just a few spots. Plus the best diving is far from the resort's island. Further, a resort stay follows the same travel regulations as a cruise so you are not permitted to visit the Burma mainland either. After your stay you would have to return to Thailand. The only way to really get to experience the full wonder of the beautiful islands of the Mergui Archipelago is by liveaboard.

Return to the top of the page

What is the weather like in Burma?

Burma is a tropical country and the weather is affected by monsoons. The dry and cooler season is from November to March, then hot from March to May. Rain is common between June and October.

Return to the top of the page

What is the best way to dive Burma?

The best way is without doubt by liveaboard. The best diving in Burma is found in the Mergui Archipelago which includes more than 300 islands, and around Burma Banks which requires a minimum 7 night trip. Most of the best diving involves distances well beyond the scope of regular resort daytrips.

Return to the top of the page

Is the diving similar to the Similan Islands?

In some areas there are indeed similarities. However, the more exposed and remote sites in Burma tend to be subject to currents that can be strong, making it more common to see pelagic fish and oceanic sharks. One distinct difference is that in Burma it is not common to see too many other liveaboards in the water, since it is a much larger area and there is less boat competition than in the Similans.

Return to the top of the page

Where will we dive - Similans? Burma Banks?

Not all the boats go to the Burma Banks, only the longer cruises, so please check the itinerary to see if the trip you are interested in includes Burma Banks. The boats which depart from Phuket or Khao Lak will include a combination of diving around the Similan Islands and the Mergui Archipelago. Those that depart from Ranong usually dive only in Burma. See the specific itineraries for more details.

Return to the top of the page

Is the cruise suitable for non divers?

Non-divers are welcome on all cruises. For those who enjoy boat life it is an unforgettable experience, cruising in the Mergui Archipelago. There are untouched islands with wild sandy beaches, clear water with great marine life and plenty of good snorkelling opportunities. However, do not expect too many island visits or islands with lots of activities. Most of the islands are deserted and overgrown.

Return to the top of the page

Is it difficult to dive in Myanmar?

Some areas such as Burma Banks can provide quite challenging dives, especially when the current is flowing. We recommend you take your advanced and deep diver specialty courses before going on the trip. Advanced courses are also available on each boat. Use of a dive computer and surface marker buoy are also strongly recommended. Also keep in mind that Burma is remote and evacuation can take up to 1 day, so please dive well within your limits and always within no decompression limits. Please also arrange your own diving and travel insurance.

Return to the top of the page

What are the diving conditions like in Myanmar?

The dive site High Rock in Burma - photo courtesy of Jorgen Kam

The diving season is limited from November to the end of April, the tropical dry season, so it is likely that you will enjoy sunny skies, especially from mid-January to mid-April. Between November and mid-January thermoclines are common and visibility ranges from 15-20 metres, due to the high concentration of plankton that also attract mantas and whale sharks. Around this time the water temperature drops and is normally between 24-28°C.

Following this, conditions improve again to their optimum in February with visibility over 25-30 metres and water temperatures between 27-30°C. Currents can be strong during Full and New Moon.

Return to the top of the page

When is the Peak Season for tourism?

The tourist season follows the diving season from November to the end of April. Remember that you will be returning to the west coast of Thailand and it is also Peak Season there too.

Return to the top of the page

What are the languages spoken?

English is commonly spoken in Myanmar. The boat crew is from Thailand and the diving crew are usually from many different countries. If language is a problem for you, let us know and we will suggest you the boat that best matches your requirements.

Return to the top of the page

What currencies are used?

The US dollar is the most common, along with the Thai Baht. Remember that the border/diving/entry fee must be paid in new US dollars notes. During the brief time on Kawthaung, US dollars and Thai Baht can be used for shopping. We suggest to take sufficient cash with you since it will be very difficult change money and find an ATM once you have left Thailand.

Return to the top of the page

What credit cards are accepted?

Some boats accept VISA and Mastercard, but you must check with us. It is advisable to have cash with you for trip expenses not included in the trip price. These include diving fees, any on board purchases from the shop plus any gratuities. Note that American Express and Diners Club are rarely accepted and normally only at big hotels.

Return to the top of the page

I am a solo traveller. Will a single supplement need to be paid for diving in Burma?

If you are diving on a liveaboard in Burma as a single traveller, you will normally pay the normal price per person and share a cabin with another guest. Otherwise you can reserve a double or twin cabin for yourself if you pay a single supplement. Each boat has their own policy, ranging from a supplement of 50% to 90% of the published price. Of course, you may be lucky, find that your cruise is not fully booked and end up having a cabin to yourself, but you can not rely on that happening. Check with us for advice on which boat best suits your needs.

Return to the top of the page

What communications will be available on board?

Burma doesn't have a proper mobile network and where mobile phones are used, the service is provided by Thailand providers. All boats have satellite phone and fax and radios to communicate. Internet is never available.

Return to the top of the page

Do I need any vaccinations?

No, it is not generally necessary to take any vaccinations to visit Burma, but you should always consult your own doctor before any such trip. The boats have a limited pharmacy and medic first aid kits on board. Wearing long sleeves and trousers at dawn and sunset can help to avoid mosquito bites. Keep in mind that Burma doesn't have a real medical system or hospitals. Serious cases need to be evacuated to Thailand and the journey could be long and expensive. Please come on board with your own medical, diving and travel insurance and be sure that they cover accidents that happen in Burma/Myanmar.

Return to the top of the page

Why is Burma now called Myanmar?

The Junta that runs Burma decided a few years ago to abandon the old name and changed the country name from The Union of Burma to The Union of Myanmar. Burma remains the common name to refer to this country.

Return to the top of the page

What about the moral and political implications of visiting this country?

For more than 50 years the country has been completely under military control. During a Burma cruise you won't see much of the land and have only very limited contact with people.

Dive The World agrees with efforts to improve human rights and movements that improve freedom of choice. But we also believe that freedom of choice includes peoples rights to choose where they want to take their holidays. We only offer Myanmar diving on liveaboards that are operated out of Thailand. We do not offer any land based tourist activities in Burma. We do not consider that divers who pay a diving and entry fee contribute in any meaningful way to supporting the military junta. It is because of the apathy of outside governments, the UN and large oil and gas multi-nationals that the military remain in power. Those wishing to make a difference should lobby and pressure their own governments into action and devote their well-intentioned energies to where the problem lies rather than areas of insignificance.

On a practical level, it is advisable not to ask political questions when on Burmese soil since this can be dangerous for them, not you. Don't try to exchange personal data or contacts (it is not allowed to have an email address in Burma). Limit your photos to natural attractions. Your trip won't change the situation there but at least it might help the border population a little. Keep yourself informed about the situation in the country as occasionally the Thailand-Burma borders shut down without warning.


Return to the top of the page

 
Liveaboard Search
Departure date: between
and
 
 

Special Offers

Diving Packages

Last minute & early bird deals for Myanmar:

 
 

Burma Liveaboard

From US$ 151 per day ...

 
 
Dive The World RSS blog news feed (opens in a new window)  Watch Dive The World's diving videos on YouTube (opens in a new window)  Join Dive The World on Facebook (opens in a new window)  Follow Dive The World on Twitter (opens in a new window)
Follow us on Pinterest (opens in a new window)  Join us on Google+ (opens in a new window)  Follow us on Linkedin (opens in a new window)
Testimonial
... All my questions were answered promptly, helpfully and with a lot of patience. The booking was completed very efficiently and with minimum fuss ...
Shajeev Wanigasekara, Sri Lanka
[ More customer reviews ]
 © Dive-The-World.com Share Like this site?: 
Privacy Policy | Terms   
 DIVE THE WORLD   
Unit 702, 7/F Bangkok Bank Building,
No. 18 Bonham Strand West, Hong Kong
Tel.: +66 (0)83 505 7794
Fax: +66 (0)76 281166
E-mail: info@dive-the-world.com
Website: http://www.dive-the-world.com