Mergui Archipelago in Burma

I read a New York Times article about the islands and beaches in Southern Burma.
As Myanmar opens up to the world, the Mergui Archipelago, as it is known, could become the next frontier for Asian tourism.

Mergui Archipelago (69) (Photo by Jannik Pedersen)

But for now, here is the reality:
The few dozen tourists who visit the area each month are closely monitored. Eight copies of their passports are made and distributed to various elements of the authorities, including the military intelligence service and the Special Branch of the police, two bodies that during the rule of the military junta were tasked with tracking down enemies of the state.

They are hopeful:
Local residents in Kawthaung, a short ferry ride from Thailand, say they believe the tourism industry will inevitably grow if Myanmar continues opening up. But it will be several years before the government and the military let down their guard, they say.

There are some signs, literally, that that is already happening.

Newly erected signboards in Kawthaung, where security is more relaxed, have replaced the old messages exhorting Burmese to be patriotic and wary of foreign influences.

The new signs, written in Burmese and English, say, "Warmly Welcome and Take Care of Tourists."

Read the whole article at the New York Times.


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