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Among the geographical beauties of the Union of Myanmar, many treasures are in the depths existing beneath the archipelago waters to this day. Myeik Archipelago located in the southernmost part of Myanmar, comprises over 800 beautiful scattered islands, parallel to the coast of 480 kilometres long Myeik Peninsula on the Andaman Sea. Due to its virtual isolation, the islands and surrounding seas are alive with an amazing diversity of flora and fauna.
Myeik Archipelago is famous and well known because of its crystal blue water, untouched coral reef and uninhabited islands clustered close to one another. Pearl diving and breeding are also the traditional works around the Islands of Myeik Archipelago. The Myeik Archipelago is still relatively unexplored and largely uninhabited. The only human inhabitants in this beautiful area are the sea gypsies, a nomadic seafaring race known as Salons. They live on boats during the dry season surviving their living by fishing, gathering and selling of natural marine products. However, they remain on land during raining season when the weather is strong and rough. At that time of the season, they manage to stay slovenly on the nearest islands they could find. They built long legged huts made of bamboo, cane or anything that they could find useful for building huts. Their life style is very simple and has changed very little over the years.
The sea gypsies have been the sole inhabitants of the Myeik Archipelago over the years and they still use the same fishing and boat building techniques, which they have been using for many generations. Being affectionate to the sea, they are expert in swimming, diving and submerging in the sea. The Salons do not live on agriculture or farming, instead they roam in the sea near the coasts. Their boats, made of light wood are convenient and appropriate to go in the sea. Their customary way of living in the sea is extraordinary as they take all the household things such as utensils, food rations and including dogs, cats and chickens with them on the boat. Their society has different cultural values from those offered by modern society. They are locked in the value system that they believe to be their own. As their ways of life and customs are so characteristic, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism launched the Salon traditional festival to attract international tourists as well as to operate marine eco-tourism around the islands in Myeik Archipelago.
Kawthaung formerly known toas Vicria Point, is the southernmost town of Myanmar. It is situated 921 kilometres from Yangon. From Kawthaung visitors can take 20 minute boat trip to Ranong, a border town in Thailand, for sightseeing and shopping. Andaman Club on the Thahtaykyun Island is located west of Kawthaung. There are regular flights taking only 45 minutes from Yangon to Kawthaung while traveling by special boats take about 2 days. Almost some half of Myeik Archipelago is located in the area of Kawthaung. Offshore fishing is an important business in Kawthaung and people here is busy to trade with Thailand for fishing, raw rubber and cashew nuts.
Among the pleasant and enchanting islands lying in the Andaman Sea, the renowned Lumpi offers a great variety of breathtaking scenery and wildlife, with more luxuriant evergreen forests, beach and dune forests, tidal mangroves, magnificent beaches and spectacular coral formation. A diving trip in Myanmar is something special that will leave a lasting impression of natural beauty above and below the water. The surrounding waters of Lumpi are rich in bird life, fish marine, dolphins and marine turtles. Thus, the Lumpi Island and the surrounding groups of islands with expansive beaches of high quality sand and offshore corals make Lumpi Island worthy of being designated as a nature reserve and also being developed as a tourist attraction for Marine Tourism.
The Chin State forms a substantial parts of Myanmar's western borders with Bangladesh and India. In the east, it meets Sagaing and Magwe division while Rakhine State lies to south. The whole region is made up of high hills and deep valleys and there is hardly any plain or plateau. The average elevation varies between 1500 and 2700 meters and the highest peak is Nat Ma Taung or Mt. Victoria in southern Chin State, reaching a height of 3100 meters above sea- level.
There run many rivers including River Manipur, River Kaladam in the southwest of the Chin State which starts in India going through Chin State into River Rakhine. The rivers in the state are full of rapids and white waters. And thus, they are not suitable for navigation. Only small boats and canoes can travel in certain sections, mostly downstream.
Nat Ma Taung (Mt. Victoria) national park is located in Kanpetlet, Mindut and Matupi townships of southern Chin State. It covers an area of 279 square miles and is established in 1994. It is also known as Mt. Victoria, which was given as a present to Queen Victoria of England in commemoration of conquest on Myanmar. It is now regarded as the best bird-watching spot among enthusiasts. Globally vulnerable and nearly threatened species of birds are recorded in this area.
Ministry of Forest is making concerted efforts to conserve the scenic beauty of natural forests, mountain ecosystem, and to preserve rare species of birds which can be found only in Myanmar, other native and migratory birds' habitats. Mt. Victoria is relatively easy to travel from the Bagan archeological site to Kanpetlet, a small town at the foot of Mt. Victoria. The core area around this peak has been notified as a national park.
Forest enroute to the peak is dry and with regenerating teak forest, a mosaic of pine trees, broad-leaves evergreen, oak and rhododendron forest, flowers with sweet smells and views with scenic beauties of wonderful flowers that stretch along the way to the top. The whole area is covering with green forest. Winter times are the most wonderful views in Myanmar, and that can never be seen in other parts of the country. Approach up to 2743 meters by car and then climb up to the mountain peak about three and a half hours walk which is suitable for soft adventure and will surely offer vistas of unspoiled charm.
In this region, one can go on excursion to tribal Chin villages to observe the life of four different ethnic Chin minorities with tattooed faces. This tradition still remains in Mindut and other Chin villages. Especially young women of the Munn tribe in Mt. Victoria region are keen to do this customs.
I would like to take this opportunity suggesting you to have a glimpse of unspoiled scenic beauty of Mt. Victoria, globally vulnerable and nearly threatened species of birds and charming beauty of tribal Chin minorities with tattooed faces.
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